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Role of Women in 21st century

 “Women are, in every way that matters, superior to men and moreover, that this superiority is finally becoming evident in our societies.” Dr. Konner

Women superior to men – Dr. Konner, a professor in anthropology at Emory University, says in his book, “Women After All” that “Women are, in every way that matters, superior to men and moreover, that this superiority is finally becoming evident in our societies.” In making this argument, he ranges from evolutionary biology, through ethology, neurobiology, embryology, anthropology and history, with digressions into economics and politics.”

“They live longer, have lower mortality at all ages, are more resistant to most categories of disease and are less likely to suffer from brain disorders that lead to disruptive and even destructive behavior. And of course most fundamentally they are capable of producing new life from their own bodies, a stressful, and costly burden in biological terms, to which men literally add only the tiniest biological contribution – and one that in the not-too-distant future could probably be done without.” In addition, women’s superiority in judgement, their trustworthiness, reliability, fairness working and playing well with others relative freedom from distracting sexual impulses and lower levels of prejudice, bigotry and violence make them biologically superior. (The wall street journal, March 28-29, 2015)

Already broken glass ceilings – There is no doubt that 21st century women have already broken all glass-ceilings, moved forward and joined ‘man’ in all kinds of nation-building activities – be it social, political, economic, technical or professional. They work shoulder-to-shoulder with men, and are second to none in any sphere of work, be it industry, politics, social works and social reforms, administration, business, civil services, or in army, which are far away from her traditional role of a home-maker. They have proved their worth in all spheres.

 Despite all that, it is quite natural for women to enter into family life along with the opposite sex – men, where their role is complementary and not competitive. Together they raise a family, take care of future generation and prepare them to face the challenges in life.

Women’s Issues – If so, then where is the problem?  Many liberated females with negative mind-set think that they have to teach males a lesson, prove their worth in those areas as well, which were earlier regarded as man’s domain, show their superiority and make men understand women’s contribution to society.  Women desire to go ahead of men everywhere and dictate their own terms all the time.

Then, balancing career with familial responsibilities has always been a tough job and a very crucial issue in women’s life. Earlier in 20th and before, the main issues of women were of physical strain, constant psychological pressures to conform to socially induced images of femininity – to be a good wife, perfect mother, efficient home-maker. Their concerns revolved around issues like dowry, domestic violence, rape, equal opportunities and equal pay etc.

 Keeping balance in femininity and ambitions – After info-tech revolution of 1970’s, technological advancements have changed the role of women to a great extent. Along with it, changed her perspective, ambitions and equations with others. Economic independence has made women stronger, more confident and more vocal. Now they are aware and well-informed about their needs, problems and solutions.

For a woman, generally both family and career are equally important now. In order to maintain a fine balance between femininity and her ambitions, at every stage of life, she has to face many challenges and many a times it becomes difficult to do justice with the both – her familial liabilities and responsibilities at work place.  She needs to set priorities rationally after analyzing what is more important ‘right now’. She has to make many compromises. Most of women have to make compromises at home front.

Women in India

Immediately after independence, in 1950′s, free young India embodied a liberal and inclusive vision of India. People understood and interpreted liberally the problems of caste, gender, community, rural-urban areas, meaning of social-economic-legal justice and attempted to resolve the issues rationally.

The years during 1950′s and 60′s were the times of social and political turmoil. Society was in general conservative, attitude hardly rebellion against social norms, talks being all about sacrifice. However Gender bias started vanishing. 1970′s and 80′s was the period of transition, when though people were still family and society-oriented, rebellion attitude started. The government and society put emphasis on women’s education. The number of educated women in urban areas gradually increased. A new wave swept across the woman’s world – many young women joined the workforce becoming students, teachers, administrators or activists in different social movements. They achieved success in various fields.

Women acquired more education, economic and social power on their own without craving for any concession unlike other so-called weaker sections of society like SCs, STs or OBCs. In 1990′s, rebellion attitude became dominant. Family and society were considered major obstacles on the way to progress. In matter of employment, it is not so difficult for women to get employment/jobs, as it was earlier. Women were placed more or less on equal footing with men.

 Movement of ‘Women-lib’ – With economic independence of women, gender relationships and norms have undergone a sea-change because of changed socio-economic atmosphere and a change in expectations. It has ironically increased conflicts. The pressures on men has increased. A drastic transition has taken place in the roles of both males and females within family. Men tried to share with women the work of rearing up infants and toddlers as well as doing other household chores.  Also his say in family matters is diminishing. Usually voice of the lady of the house prevails, men finds himself in a helpless position.

“Who wears the pants in the family”? – Now a days, women plays a major role within a family, assume almost all the rights to take all major decisions and to dictate her own terms. She does whatever she wants to do and enjoys life in her own way. There is no denial to the fact that full freedom should be given to women to make her own decisions and to lead her life the way she wants. But it should be done in a  decent, balanced and civilized manner by exercising some amount of self-control and self-discipline, so that her actions does not adversely affect the feelings or living of other family-members.

Mindset of present generation’s young women – For many modern young women nothing, but ‘self’ matters in life. As movement of women’s lib along with the ideas like “I will do what I want”, “I do not care for anybody” has gained momentum, They pay more attention to grab more power, earn more money and further their careers at any cost. In some cases, they desire to set themselves free from all bondage of kinship. Some of them prefer to go far away from their native place to enjoy more freedom and settle down in unknown places or in foreign lands, to free themselves from any kind of social pressure, lead their life, the way they want, get total control over activities of their spouses and enforce on everybody in the family their own dictates/rules.

“Men from Mars, women from Venus?” – Thinking, working style, personal qualifications and abilities and sense of responsibility differ from person to person. It does not necessarily depend on one’s ‘gender’. It is unfair to generalize attributes of men-women on gender ground. However, nature has created some things in such a way that it is difficult to ignore gender gap – in physique, mindset, style of working and attitudes of men and women. It is difficult for a woman, how-so-ever hard she tries to bring to an end those inherent dissimilarities bestowed by nature itself.

Usually men are by nature more rational/sensible, more focused, faster in taking decisions or actions, less reactive and considerate. They have more physical strength, energy and authority. It is difficult for a woman ignore the charm of his physical strength and his ability to provide her and her family security – as a husband, father or son. As far as women are concerned, they are more loving, more caring and more social and maintain harmonious relationship with people around them. They have understanding and capacity to think practically. They are more attractive. However, sometimes the confidence gap in females tend them to look up to their male counter-parts to boost up their morale.

Roles of men and women in family are complementary, not competitive – Healthy relationship between couples makes the world more colourful, comfortable and give each other purpose of life. It gives them incentive to work hard, move forward and make everybody happy within the family.  But when they work on impulses and emotions, life becomes difficult for the whole family, as it is practically impossible for an impulsive mind to think rationally.

Women wants from the society and its male-members –

  • Change in its perspective/mindset about women’s role,
  • Not to be treated as commodities,
  • Respect and love,
  • To feel their difficulties/hardships they face in their day-to-day life.
  • Help them to make this world a better place for future generation,
  • Women should not just be given importance for a day or two, but every day throughout the year.
  • She can walk fearlessly anywhere at any point of time. Incidents of violence – filicide, rape, human trafficking against women be controlled.

More than equality and independence, women like when males open doors and pull out a chair for them.

 Conclusion

“Michelle Obama’s” role played sensibly and positively as a career woman and homemaker is a classic example for all. Of the two Obamas, Michelle, wife of American President Obama  (America’s first African-American First Lady) has been more successful professionally, when studying in Harvard Law School, working as a lawyer, as an associate dean at the University of Chicago and eventually as a highly paid executive at the university hospital. As her husband’s career took off, she became a steading force behind her husband. Instead of becoming an intensely political first lady, she championed mostly non-political causes. When she makes the case of healthier school lunches, she sounds like a parent, not a politician. She seems to have made a point of keeping family routine intact despite the pressures if life in the White House. She has instructed her staff to avoid events after 5 p.m. so that she could have dinner with her daughters, just as she did with her own parents on South Euclid Avenue. (Quoted from The Wall Street Journal, 8.4.2015, P. A 11)

No one – man or woman – should try to impose one’s superiority on the other. Both should accept life as it comes, discipline their mind-sets to face together the challenges in life. As a couple, both husband and wife, the main pillars of the family life, are supposed to supplement each-others weaknesses and become a stronger unit to give required support to other dependent members of the family. Harmonious relationship between husband and wife makes life interesting, enjoyable and worthwhile for themselves as well as for everybody else in the family and society.

Seeing the strengths and weaknesses of both the sexes, it can be said that roles of men and women within a family and society are complimentary and not competitive. A women should not try to ape. There is much more grace in femininity rather than talking, acting and behaving like man.

January 16, 2016 Posted by | Education and training of civil services, Women's issues | | Leave a comment

Skill Development through sound system of education and training

                                     “If we have to promote the development of our country then our                                                   mission has to be Skill Development and Skilled India.”                                                                           Narendra Modi, Present Prime Minister of India

                       “Launch of the Skill India Campaign is an important milestone towards achieving the objective of skilling with Speed, Scale and Standards across the country.”

Sri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Present Minister of Skill Development and entrepreneurship

“If we want to give jobs to 400-500 million illiterates and 200-250 million semi-ill-literates, we have to go in for low-tech manufacturing that does not require high levels of education.”

 Narayan Murthy

Introduction

“In today’s technology-centric world, the focus is in reducing human effort and employing machines to perform tasks that have been traditionally been the forte of humans alone. Self-driving vehicles, robots conversing with human-like intelligence, and wearable gadgets that enhance our day-to-day lives have already become a reality.” (G Ram Mohanna Reddy, http://www.educationtimes.com) Such a development has opened up enormous scope for developing income-generating skills. Both educated and uneducated youth can make use of such opportunities both through  formal or informal training in different areas of their choice.

Unfortunately, many people in India place too much importance to degrees and certificates instead of developing knowledge or skills. The result is that too many students prefer to pursue a degree without a job in sight. The time demands to address the challenge of joblessness by creating an atmosphere, where along with improving job-opportunities, safety, economic and social status of individuals, it makes stronger the infra-structure of the country.  For solving the problem of unemployment/under employment and the sustainable development of nation, “education for all” and employment generating “skill development” are the fundamental requirements. There should be better synergy between prospective employers and the skill training centres. If the youth get job-satisfaction and enough earnings, then their attitude towards degrees and towards acquiring skills would be automatically change.

India has all the basic resources – men (nearly 35% are the youth having some talent or the other), money and material. The only problem is to utilize the three by providing ‘education to all’ and honing their natural talents/skills through proper training. For yielding better results, it is necessary that along with honing professional skills in youth, inculcating discipline and civility  should also be an integral part of education and training scheme.

Need for sound system of education and training – There has been a growing realization, in the recent years, all over the world that both ‘Education and Training’ play a very important role in skill development of youth, which together impart knowledge, shape attitudes, cultivate skills, build work-habits, and thus enable people to meet the challenges of modern times.

Present scenario in 21st century – World-over, almost all the national governments are facing in full blast many problems, especially after the ‘great economic depression’ of 2008. Unemployment of young people, especially those looking for jobs who do not have skills)  is one of the biggest worries for any national government. Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy (TOI, 16.2.16, p.17) rightly says “If we want to give jobs to 400-500 million illiterates and 200-250 million semi-ill-literates, we have to go in for low-tech manufacturing that does not require high levels of education. … This is how China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea did it” For not so well educated unemployed youth, who are looking for menial jobs and find no jobs,  opportunities can be generated y giving them training in low-tech manufacturing skills.

It is the time to make full efforts to improve economic situation, continuous modernization, higher productivity, improvement in the quality of service. In turn, it demands more trained people in all the spheres to increase productivity, and effectiveness and efficiency in service.

Necessity to impart new knowledge and new skills – The more the problems, better equipped should be the people to face the challenges and meet new demands. Not only that new challenges are being faced by the modern governments, knowledge in this space age, is growing faster than ability of individuals to handle it, especially after the info-tech revolution. Therefore, there is a necessity to impart new knowledge and new skills and to inculcate new attitudes in the people through a well-planned and systematic arrangement of education and training. A well-planned sound system of education and training could enable people to contribute to and guide the social changes and development into desired direction and help them to achieve the goals within time and cost parameters.

Issue – Generally people do not understand the distinction between education and training and its impact on work-culture. Education has unfortunately been misunderstood as something formal going to educational institutions schools/colleges for academic or theoretical studies, and acquiring degrees/diplomas/certificates. They expect that it would get them a respectable place in the world of modern callings. In a mindset, where Education is degree-oriented, there are always certain gaps between learning and practical requirement. Without Training these gaps remain unfilled. It is here that training becomes relevant. Therefore it becomes necessary to understand what education and training means?

Education and training, intertwined – Both education and training are intertwined in such a way that without one or the other, it is practically impossible/very difficult to cope with the challenges of modern world. Whereas education helps students to choose and decide their activity, training helps them to improve their performance in it. Education deals mostly with knowledge and understanding, training with understanding and skill. Training prepares to deal with the complexities of real work-life – pressures, limited resources, choices uncertainties and conflicting motives etc.


Role of education and training in skill development –
Thus, education covers the necessity of modifying behaviour, attitudes and beliefs. It develops an understanding about social and economic position and about public affairs in general. Training cultivates skills and build work-habits. It confines itself to the study of job-skills and knowledge related to a person’s immediate functions.

Education

Meaning of education – (‘Neti, Neti’ meaning unending process) Education is a continuous process and is identified with the complete up-bringing of the individual from the childhood. Education/learning never ends. It is a life-long/continuous process for complete upbringing of the individual right from his birth to death. At each and every, an individual learns something. Education is neither for a fixed period nor look only for theoretical or academic pursuits leading towards award of degrees/diplomas and certificates.

A relentless process – It is, indeed, difficult to define education. Education is a relentless process of becoming. It is growth and consciousness. A sound system of education develops the power of concentration, the capacity of attention and observation. It ensures physical, intellectual, emotional and ethical integration of an individual. It can be said that the ultimate aim of education is to establish a just and equitable social order, where every individual shall have opportunities to grow to one’s fullest stature, so that he may be able to contribute his utmost to the social well-being.

Develops mental and moral faculties – The development of the mental and moral faculties, which has a material bearing on the formation of character is the task of education. In its wider sense, it embraces reading, observation, thought and its proper application in real life. `Education’ helps a person to increase knowledge, under-standing and attitude, so they are better adjusted to their surroundings.

Education generates confidence – An educated person is sure of his knowledge and is keen to know more. He/she is able to create new knowledge and transmit it to others; to discriminate between right and wrong, to be honest in his dealings with others. He/she can resist evil and exploitation and work for the establishment of a peaceful, just, healthy and happy social order. He/she has a rational outlook and is able to resolve personal conflicts realistically. He owns responsibility and faces consequences; is bold and upright in the presentation of his views; appreciates other people’s point of views, qualities and virtues; and is fully conscious of his real self and his place in cosmos.

Purpose of education – The purpose of education, is human excellence, improvement in the form of thought and action and full control over one’s objective self. Human excellence needs to be conditioned by the prevailing norms of human behaviour in a particular society and is, therefore, a relative concept. As it is, the term `Education’ aims at increasing knowledge, understanding and attitudes of the candidates, so that they are better adjusted to their environment. It develops mental and moral faculties, which have a material bearing on the formation of character. In its wider sense it embraces reading, observation and thought.

Scope of education – Within its jurisdiction, it embraces the formation of habits, manners and character, and mental and physical aptitude. Education also opens out the world of job-market to students, so that they can choose their occupation/career and mode of living according to their interests, attitude and aptitude. The scope of education is much broader than of training.

Levels of formal education – Formal education is usually imparted –

1. Before entering into job-market and

2.After employment

Before entering into job-market – Before entering into job-market, the main aim of formal education is learning on the basis of study of facts, principles and data. A regular contact between ‘Teachers’ and ‘Students’ is primary, everything else gives way to it. It follows a set pattern and is generally conducted at three levels:

I. Primary education at School Level – School level education gives more importance to character forming. Its main task is of implanting in the minds of young children those values and attitudes that will influence their entire perception of life.

ii. Higher education at Secondary level and at University level – Higher level education at College or University level promotes innovative attitudes and depth of perception. It prepares workers/personnel for different occupations be general, technical or professional or medical. The lacunae in formal higher education is that it is academic in nature and teaches students about events, which are remote. The curriculum still remains purely theoretical and away from real life-situation.

Education after entering into a job – Understanding of various aspects of a specific occupation/profession is the chief objective of education after entering into a job. It is based more on “common-sense” approach. It is based on experiences gained, while dealing with the immediate, real, practical and specific needs/problems of different kinds of occupations/professions. Its programs are seldom definite and do not follow any routine. What is learned is usually applied immediately. It moulds and refines the attitudes of students to deal properly with challenges and hazards of real occupational life.

After completing the formal education, people generally enters into the world of work. At this stage, one realizes the value of training –formal or on the job.

Training

Role of training – Training is one of the primary means of building up competence and effectiveness of workers/employees all over the world. It provides participants with broad understanding of various facets of their respective work. Whether it is a developed nation or an underdeveloped or developing nation, training becomes necessary for action required for achieving desired goals.

Meaning of training – Training is job-specific. It enables people to apply knowledge in their real work life. It is primarily concerned with preparing the people for certain lines of action, which are delineated by technology and by the occupation, in which he engaged. It is an approach to improve the output – quantitatively and qualitatively. It is a process, by which the attitudes, skills and abilities of trainees to perform specific jobs are increased. It hones natural talents of the people and prepares them to skills, which they do not possess, but are necessary for doing their jobs efficiently, of which they are a part.

Training, a self-generating action – There was a time when force was used for getting a job done or for a change, but effect of ‘force’ is short-lived. It is only training, which can lead to sustained, self-generating action. Capacity-building through training promises inculcating that expertise which is essential for using modern technologies properly. It is essential for economic development as well. It inculcates flexibility in action through understanding and confidence, inventiveness, initiative and ability to make decisions and also respect for the contributions of others and readiness for collaboration with others.

Objectives of training – There are different and specific objectives for different occupations and organizations at different levels. In any profession, training at initial level cultivates skills for specific jobs. At middle and senior levels stress is on human development. Obviously, development of the human resources at this level would require cultivation of the mind; cultivation of the heart to enable trainees to acquire adequate social sensitivities and appropriate patriotic zeal and public spiritedness; and the cultivation of right attitudes and behaviour patterns towards the job, toward the seniors, towards the juniors and ultimately towards the people at large. At higher level personnel need to be trained in the art of rational and quick decision making.

There is a general consensus on the following aims of training –

  • To produce employees, whose precision and clarity in the transaction of business can be taken for granted.
  • To attune employees for the tasks, they are called upon to perform in this fast-changing modern world. It constantly and boldly adjusts their outlook and methods to the new needs of the new times.
  • Not to allow workers to fall into the trap of becoming mechanized. A new entrant, from the start, is made aware of the relation of his work to the service rendered by profession/occupation to the community. The capacity to see what he is doing is a wider setting makes the work not only valuable to his organization but more stimulating to himself.
  • To direct, not only for enabling an individual to perform the current work more efficiently, but also equipping him for other duties and appropriately develop his capacity for higher work and greater responsibility.
  • To develop and maintain morale of workers to offset the dull monotony of routine work.
  • To inculcate right attitude towards others occupations.
    Training at higher level needs to focused, additionally, on:
    • Improving the capacity of making correct judgements and take timely decisions;
    • Increasing the willingness and ability to accept responsibility, to delegate authority and to develop subordinates;
    • Developing an appreciation of the value of time and efforts of others;
    • Developing a concept of personal integrity and public responsibility.
    Informal training – Informal training (on the job) is learning on the job. It has been the traditional method of training for the workers engaged in different occupations. Earlier it was considered that any worker in any occupation, having common-sense, judgement and attitude and aptitude could understand easily the essentials and responsibility of his profession well and could do his job well. It was, therefore, considered to be the only way to train most of the workers/professionals.
    • Learn from their mistakes – Informal training as has been said earlier, is training individuals on-job so that they could learn from one’s own mistakes, and acquires required skill through practice. It is a continuing process running through the entire career span of an individual. There are no set procedures for informal training. It automatically comes out of day today relationships between an employee and his colleagues in horizontal formation, between an employee and his juniors in downward vertical formation and between an employee and his seniors in upward vertical formation at meetings of professional associates or reading and study that a person does on his own initiative or at his superior’s suggestion.
    • Responsibility of seniors – Since such a training is not backed by compulsion, but is more or less self-inspired, motivation is necessary. Besides, the ultimate success of informal or on-the-job training depends upon the interest, experience, sincerity, knowledge, skills and attitudes of the co-workers, especially seniors.
    • Seniors to spare time to train new-comers – It is necessary in the interest of a profession/occupation that its seniors find out some time to devote on youth working under them, so that the later can achieve something from the experiences of their seniors. If seniors are not able to guide and train their juniors properly, due to one reason or the other, very little positive results can be achieved. It, however, should not lead to the situation of “spoon-feeding”. It should be a judicious mixture of self-observation and guidance by seniors.
    In modern times, complete reliance on on-job training not desirable – Complete reliance on on-the-job training – a training by trial and error, alone is neither possible nor desirable. In the present space age, when knowledge is growing faster than one’s ability to handle it, it can perpetuate outmoded methods of work, generate resistance to change and reform. Therefore, a well organized system of formal training becomes necessary.
    Formal Training – Formal training aims at inculcating skills by well-defined courses at proper stages in one’s career as also updating the stock of initial skills or knowledge. Formal training can be divided into following groups –
    a. Pre-entry training- :- The purpose of pre-entry training is to prepare trainees for different kinds of work in general, as requirement of various organizations dealing with same profession vary widely. Education given in vocational/professional institutions may be called as pre-entry training. Pre-entry training is available for professionals as Engineers doctors, managers, accountants, lawyers, etc.
    b. Orientation or foundation training: Foundation training program equips a new recruit with conceptual, technical and human relation skills as applied to the organization, he joins. In any occupation, where pre-entry training facility is not available, foundation training program becomes necessary to orient and model the new recruits. Foundation training also brings the professionals, drawn from heterogeneous segments of society with divergent educational and cultural backgrounds, together in present scenario. Foundational training program may range in duration from a few weeks to a couple of years. Some of the main objectives of foundation training could be:
    – To acquaint the new recruit with the people, with whom he has to work, and the atmosphere, in which he has to work. It helps him to know the rules, regulations, privileges, hour of work, leave, pay-days etc., within a short period;
    – To familiarize him quickly with some of the history and general objectives of his organization and its relation to the rest of the departments/Ministry;
    – To prepare and make available to the new recruits list of materials and references that he needs to become familiar with the job;
    – To explain the new employee the organizational set-up of his work-place, with its lines of authority, so that he may know to whom he is to report, from whom he is to take directions and the limits of his responsibilities;
    – To help the new entrant to analyze his position, the analysis should include a list of various duties of the position, why each is important, how to do it and some measure to know how well it has been done;
    – To develop in the employee the habit of taking his requests for information, his problems and difficulties to his seniors/more experienced persons for solutions.
    In-service Training or training while on job:- To take over the training tasks initiated by foundational training and to fill in the gaps inherent in the informal process of on-the-job training, in-service training comes into the picture. In-service training is a development of a very recent origin as against foundation training, which has been around for a longer time. In government, training has come to be greatly valued in recent years because of the growing awareness that developing countries need to improve their administrative capability in order to achieve their national developmental objectives.
    Difference between foundation and in-service training – Though both kinds of training aim, broadly, to achieve improvements in the quality of working, the difference between them are striking. Foundation training aims to introduce the new entrant in the profession about the working environment of their occupation and prepares them for responsibilities, they are to shoulder in the coming years. The aim of in-service training is to give to the persons already in world of jobs exposure to new developments in relevant fields, so that they are able to cope with the changes in the world of work. Basic subjects and fundamentals of work are the main course content of the foundation training, whereas it becomes more specialized in in-service training, as participants have acquired work experience.
    In today’s environment, the pace of change has accelerated tremendously. Knowledge acquired through training at the starting point in career would be inadequate to deal with the present situation, which is constantly in a state of flux. Also, Foundation training occurs only once at the beginning of the career. In-service training may occur at several points during one’s career. It may not even occur at all in one’s career. It has been felt that training can-not remain a one shot affair. One need exposure to training at several points during one’s career.
    In-service training to fill the `gap’ between the “required” – In=service training programs are essentially designed to fill the `gap’ between the “required” and the “available” performance levels in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes and habits. It either enables the civil servants to perform their “existing” duties and functions effectively or prepares them to assure responsibilities on promotions to higher positions competently. It becomes necessary for the new job responsibilities to be created in response to the organizational functional or technological changes.
    Role of in-service training – In-service training provides one way, in which the organization can assist the individual employee to develop his abilities. The need for training after entering into job-market service is particularly apparent in the present scenario. New skills and orientations needs to be constantly acquired by the employees for the rapid introduction of new programs, the utilization of new technology and changing the environment, where they work for better future. The importance of training programs goes even beyond the need for specialized skills or information on new policies. Through training employees develop awareness about the expectations of the people, government or their respective organization from them.
    Difference between the methods of foundation and in-service training – The teaching methods of foundation training are same as those in use in universities, colleges with minor modifications (attachments, visits etc.). Methods used for in-service training are participative, inviting more involvement of the trainees in the learning process through discussions etc. Participation is obligatory in the case of foundation training, whereas in the case of in-service training participants have a choice. Groups of large number are fairly common on foundation training, whereas it is limited purposely in in-service training.
    Shorter duration of in-service training – The duration of foundation course is usually long. In the case of in-service training it is necessarily of a shorter duration.
    In-service training is concept-based or technique-based – In-service training is an opportunity for formal training provided at appropriate time intervals in appropriate areas, either concept based or technique based. It provides the basic input for raising levels of performance and efficiency in administration and for improving its health and culture. It is a systematic process, designed to help the participants to develop professional knowledge, job-oriented skills and the desired attitudes to enable them to function efficiently and effectively thereby fulfilling the organization’s goals and objectives.
    A tough job – The main objective of the in-service training is to replace old unproductive habits by productive ones. The risk of training already on job people is much more complex difficult than that of training new entrants. New entrants are not conversant with the situation and do not possess any experience with regard to the functioning of government. Hence whatever instructions are given to them are taken for granted. It is a kind of intrusion into an existing pattern of behaviour or belief. This creates resistance to change. With a view to making in-service training effective, it is essential to “unlearn” old habits, which are to be replaced by new ones. This is only possible, if trainees are exposed to new learning in such a way that it does not create much ambivalence between previous habits and the new ones desired.
    Post-entry training: Post entry training is not directly related to the work of the trainee, but it ultimately helps the organization. Continuing education and training is a phenomenon recently emerging worldwide. Organizations are encouraging their executives to take study leave to enable them to keep themselves abreast of new or emerging trends in management/administration. The aim of executive learning programs broadens the mental horizons of the top executives and managers and equip them with realistic, practical public policies and leadership education that is relevant to their professional and personal educational goals. It creates a smarter workforce with high rate of technology absorption. It gives them greater scope for growth.
    Pre-requisites for making training programs successful – Following are the pre-requisites to make training programs successful –
    • Identification of training needs:- Effectiveness of training largely depends on right diagnosis of training needs – a task which calls for patience, objectivity, time and management support. Since the training need are, in the first place, organizational need – an in depth study of organization would be a necessary starting point for solid and sound identification.
    • Analyze purpose of training – Pressures for change from within or outside in any organization, may need expansion, adopting new technologies, developing new functions and re-organising existing functions and through a variety of other possible ways. Pressures for change organizational changes, in turn obviously, becomes, in turn the pressure on individuals to change of their mindset and working style. To deal effectively with the impending new jobs and situations, individuals find that they need new knowledge, understanding and skills, which perhaps can be acquired through training alone.
    • How to identify training needs? :- The analysis of training needs can be done organization/occupation-wise, individual-wise, category-wise, level-wise or function-wise. The two techniques commonly used in job-analysis are –
    – Job-observation and
    – Interviewing.
    For proper identification of training needs one has to study the organization in terms of its objectives, policies, functions and method of work and to look into the cases and causes of delays, errors, mistakes, the method and channels of communication, to analyze the behaviour of personnel within the organization; to look into plans for expansion or reorganization or changes contemplated for future.
    In doing so, due attention demands to analyze the `felt’ needs, the `perceived’ needs and even the `induced’ needs. The performance gaps, at different levels of workers/personnel have to be clearly identified. It is also essential to determine the critical stages `when’, `how’, `how long’ and `where’ the training should be given. These are not easy questions to answer, as due attention has to be paid to requirements of `personal excellence’ as well as `organizational effectiveness’.
    • Identification of learning objectives: For making training successful, it is necessary to establish proper learning objectives in respect of each category or level of officials to be trained. A proper identification of training needs makes the task easy. The learning objectives should be specific, measurable and testable, to be purposeful. For this purpose, one must be very clear about the nature, the form and the extent of change intended to be stimulated, induced or effected in the individual behaviour, the work systems and the organizational effectiveness. There are four possibilities open for a training institution to match its training goals with the organizational needs:
    o The institution can publicize its training goals and the training strategies it prefers and its competence to use, to enable organizations and individuals to take advantage of such training facilities.
    o To design tailor made training programs by meeting senior persons of the organizations intended to be served. It shows clearly the institutions’ interest in working closely with the organizations, whose need it expects to meet.
    o Training institutions can acquire detailed information about the changes in the jobs for which the organization wishes to prepare itself through training. If the requirements are general and call for a series of programs, it can help the organization to work out a comprehensive training plan ahead of time.
    o There is final advanced relationship, in which the institution and the organization are in full collaboration, full-fledged, played-in partners in an enterprise of importance to both of them.
    Once the training needs are established and the objectives of the program becomes clear, the actual phase of as how to conduct the program starts. This calls for various activities, such as management of training itself and management of human and financial resources. In designing a training program, stress needs to be on experimental and practical forms of learning, rather than on theoretical academic or routine learning.
    A well-designed course will be able to cater to such groups within the limitations of time, and also be able to expose them to all that is relevant in their fields. For the success of training of workers, it requires the use of experimental training techniques and high degree of involvement in the process of learning. The methodology of training should emphasize sharing of experience and trainers should provide the frame-work for meaningful discussion of practical issues and problems.
    • Support of seniors: Top level support for training is necessary for the success of the training efforts. The training efforts should adequately be appreciated and supported at senior levels. The support of top-level management is needed at various steps such as while identifying training needs or while designed course content, or while nominating the trainees etc. Without top-level support, training becomes unable to produce the desired results.
    • Selection of trainees:- Effectiveness of any training program would largely depend upon the selection of right type of personnel for right type of program. The selection of trainees should be based upon the potential, accomplishments and performance of a person. Priority should be given to those officers, who have demonstrated initiative, enthusiasm and creative effort.
    • Evaluation:- Evaluation is a necessary feed-back tool for making successive training program effective. Through evaluation, the results achieved can be compared with objectives laid down by the sponsoring authorities, by the training institutions and by the trainees themselves, and the areas of shortcomings, pitfalls, bottlenecks can be isolated for remedial measures.
    Winding up
    It can be concluded that‘Education and Training’ play a very important role in skill development of youth, which together impart knowledge, shape attitudes, cultivate skills, build work-habits, and thus enable people to meet the challenges of modern times.Sound education and training can do much to improve the capability of youth and thus lead to faster economic growth and social change. Education and training of an official is not entirely a responsibility of the Government. Every person by himself should try to seek the opportunities to advance his knowledge and educational qualifications. At the same time government should be liberal in providing enough/proper opportunities to educate and train all its youth.

January 12, 2016 Posted by | Education and training of civil services | | Leave a comment

Role of education in 21st century

     “The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who can   not read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Toffler

 “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”              Carl Sagan

“Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action”. Khalil Gibran

“Creativity occurs primarily through the power of intention. Intention is like sowing seed in existence. Allow it to germinate. Allow the forces of nature to nurture life.” Swami Sukhabodhananda

Introduction – In a judgement, Justice Unnikrishnan had commented very correctly that “Victories are gained, peace is preserved , progress is achieved, civilization is built up and history is made not in battlefields where ghastly murders are committed in the name of patriotism, not in the council chambers where insipid speeches are spun out in the name of debate, nor even in factories where are manufactured novel instruments to strangle life, but in educational institutions which are the seed-beds of culture, where children in whose hands quiver the destinies of the future, are trained. From their ranks will come out when they grow up, statesmen and soldiers, patriots and philosophers, who will determine the progress of the land.” (The Supreme court of India in Unni Krishnan Judgement (1993 SSC(I))

90% portion of mind remains unused – Long, long ago, Newton had said that he was ‘like a child, who is picking pebbles at sea-shore while the great ocean of knowledge lies before me’. Since then, knowledge has grown enormously and at a much faster speed than human ability to cope with it. But still as Osho has said, “Only one-tenth of our mind is conscious; Nine-tenth is in darkness, deep darkness.” (TOI, p.18, The speaking Tree).

Technological advancements of twentieth century, especially during post 1970’s due to revolution in the field of information technology, have changed the whole scenario. Entering into world of knowledge is like going into a dense forest. Only way out is to develop clarity of thought/mind, as to what one wants to know and make sincere efforts to pursue relevant knowledge in that specific area

It is equally important to upgrade knowledge continuously. As Alvin Toffler, renowned writer has said, “The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who can not read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Purpose of education

Access to school education has more or less achieved in India. At present the problem is with quality, be it primary, secondary or higher education. Equal emphasis needs to be laid in Vocational education. Unfortunately, meaning and purpose of literacy and education is misunderstood. Literacy does not merely mean the knowledge of three ‘R’s, nor does it mean only academic or theoretical studies/knowledge leading to award of degrees. Increasing knowledge-base through available information is also not the purpose of learning. Bookish-knowledge and award of degrees through formal education without effective training-systems neither serve any purpose nor lead the people to get employed gainfully. To nurture life, creativity is a must, which ” … occurs primarily through the power of intention. Intention is like sowing a seed in existence. Allow it to germinate. Allow the forces of nature to nurture life. And see what happens!” (Swami Sukhabodhananda, 4.11.2016, p. 18, TOI)

As Khalil Gibran has said – “knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action”. A little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that is inactive. One, whose knowledge is confined to books, can not use his wealth of knowledge, whenever required.

The scope of education – The scope of education is much broader. It is a continuous process. It means complete up-bringing of the individual starting from the childhood till end. In its wider sense, literacy and education embraces within itself reading, observation, thought and its application in real life situations. Within its jurisdiction, also comes formation of habits, manners, character, attitude and aptitude along with imparting knowledge. Learning at each and every stage of life increases knowledge-base, understanding and attitudes of a person.

A well-planned and sound system of education inspires human beings to control their senses, mind and intellect, so that they could be adjusted better in real life’s environment. It guides people to achieve their goals within time and cost parameters and to channelize their efforts towards desired direction. In short, a sound education system imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work habits of the people.

Distinction between action, forbidden action, and in-action – Knowledge has been considered essential for the purpose of giving activities, their due meaning and value. According to Hindu philosophy even a wise man may get puzzled without knowledge about do’s and don’ts. It is only after the acquisition of knowledge, that a person understands the real nature of work and could distinguish correctly between action, forbidden action and in-action.

India and its Education system

High regard for knowledge – India has always given importance to and showed a high regards for knowledge, wisdom, virtues, characters and will power. According to Indian philosophy, ‘Wealth of knowledge is supreme among all forms of wealth’. (Vidya dhanam sarvadhana pradhanam). Therefore, knowledge is the greatest thing to be sought after. A human being is human because he has the organic capacity to think and seek knowledge.

More importance to knowledge than wealthUnlike India, in Western countries, more importance is being given to creation of wealth. Wealth is the ultimate aim of the people, yardstick of success and a status symbol. Traditional India was not so materialistic. Its systems had separated pursuit and achievement in knowledge from temptations of worldly comforts, wealth or power-politics. According to Indian philosophy, when a person runs blindly after money and forgets about the real purpose of knowledge, both wealth and knowledge vanishes from their lives. The only judicious way to generate wealth and gain power goes via the path of true knowledge.

Knowledge as the base of rankingEarlier the greatness of a person, institution or a state was judged on the basis of the degree of righteousness and justice. Greatness of a nation was judged with which its administration governed lives of the common men or their character. It was not on the basis of the size of a state, its military power or its treasury/bank-balance. Similarly, in the society, a person or a caste was ranked on the basis of knowledge, discipline and moral standards, and not on the basis of material success, muscle or money power or of having controlling power over the destiny of common man.

Respect for knowledgeable personsIn ancient India, apart from Brahmins, others were also paid respect by the society for their learning, character, spirituality and ability to guide general masses. The system was quite liberal in this matter. It gracefully accepted the right and opportunity to get to the top from the humblest origin and earn the respect of the whole society. For example, Vashishtha, the principal of the conservative school of Brahmanism, was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute. Vishwamitra, the maker of the very Gayatri Mantra, the quintessence of the Vedic Brahmanism, was a Kshatriya. Aitreya, after whom the sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman (belonging to Mahr community – Dalit according to present standards and to which Dr Ambedkar, the messiah of Dalits belonged).  Balmiki, an untouchable according to present standards, the original author of Ramayana, is highly respected all over India. None of them were not ashamed of their origin. They still hold a very high position in general public minds.

Close connection between Knowledge and hard work – For acquiring knowledge, training mind in a scientific manner and concentrating energies of mind, one has to struggle, work hard, make sincere efforts and face many challenges in life. Now-a-days, courage to struggle or work hard is missing except in a few students, who still keep the fire of seeking knowledge burning all the time. Without hard-work, search for knowledge remains incomplete and superficial.

In ancient India sages (Rishi-Munies) had worked day and night to acquire true knowledge. The love for knowledge inspired many students to walk from different parts of the country to centers of learning at that time like Taxila or Nalanda. A powerful Emperor, like Ashoka the great, thought it his duty, to bow before the monks as a mark of my deep respect for their learning, wisdom and sacrifice. What matters in life, are not a person’s status or position, but his virtues and wisdom. Only when you have raised yourself up from ignorance, can you recognize the greatness of a few in a sea of humanity.

For creating modern civilization, sincere knowledge seekers in Western world also did not care for inconveniences or challenges. They had sacrificed their time (for about two centuries), energies and comforts in search of knowledge. Then only they could develop great modern scientific knowledge, technique and wealth.

Education in modern India

Sixty four years after independence and self-rule, literacy-rate has gone up to 74% from 65%. For males it has risen to 82% from 75%, for females to 65% from 54%.  In absolute number, the figure is alarming. No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled.

Constraints

All is not well in the education system in India – has been noted by distinguished academicians, policy-makers, political leaders, other eminent persons, commissions and committees. Now and then, they have pointed out its failures in one area or another. It has always been felt that Modern education has become increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations, insufficient, wasteful and dysfunctional.

In addition to what constraints that have already been existing in the education system, many more external and internal problems, paradoxes and constraints have cropped up.  Some defects in modern education based on colonised British Grammer School type education, were pointed out by  Gandhiji like –

  • It is based upon foreign culture to the almost entire exclusion of the indigenous culture.
  • It ignores the culture of heart and hand and confines itself simply to head
  • Real education is impossible through foreign medium.

External Constraints – Externally, socio-economic and political pressures have violated its identity and autonomy. Some changes have taken place in the recent past in the character, role and inter-relationship of these main constituent of the national elites – the political executive, the legislators, the businessmen, the media persons, the organized workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats. It brought into the forefront some undesirable social changes and political turmoil. It has affected adversely the whole atmosphere in the field of education as well.

Heavy pressure on education system due to population explosion – Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on present education system and its available infrastructure. Narrow loyalties, sectional interests and sub-cultures like – favoritism, nepotism and corruption have fast become an accepted way of life. Result is that communal, regional and caste conflicts and unhealthy competition between different powerful lobbies are increasing every day to have their exclusive hold on scarce resources available in the field of education or for power and pelf.

Control in the hands of a few – Few persons and groups, who have the power in their hands, control almost every walk of national life including the education system. They are working continuously to deny justice to common men.

The reflection of all these social evils is found in the educational system as well.

Internal ConstraintsInternally the system has been fractured along the lines of discipline deteriorating standard of education in general and student sub-culture. Slowly but steadily, the education system lost its capacity to equip the younger generation with relevant knowledge and skills for enabling them to get gainfully employed and to perform their jobs with a sense of responsibility. It has failed to produce much-needed dynamism in youth as well. Now people have started questioning the legitimacy of a modern education system itself.

 Disintegrates society – Instead of being an instrument of social integration, education system divides people into two groups – ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. There is government or government aided schools that give education to poor masses. It is economical, but do not maintain good standard. On the other hand there are private schools, which gives quality education, caters mainly the needs of ‘Haves’, because it is very costly.

Deteriorating standards After independence, India is facing a rapid deterioration in standards of education. In the past, though education was thinly spread, it had maintained some standard. Now in an attempt to do quantitative expansion of education, quality of education suffered a lot. The examination and evaluation system tests only a narrow range of skills, especially those of memory. Standard of general education has deteriorated considerably and suffers from grave errors.  In addition to it, there is lot of interference and control of the government at every stage of the educational process.

Unfit for original work Education system in advanced countries makes student a lively, inquisitive and original thinking person. There, it has been able to develop certain special qualities like regards for laws of the nation, awareness, contempt for hypocrisy, sympathy for underdog and courage to resist cruelty or misuse of power and authority. An educated youth in India generally fails to display genuine social conscience.

Store-house of information – Importance of information in knowledge, which provides the basis of all the thinking, cannot be denied. However, present education system at all stages of education, from preliminary through secondary right up-to the college stage makes mind a store-house of information/knowledge and discourages original thinking. It lays emphasis on giving students ready-made knowledge, systematically and neatly organized in the form of lessons, units and text book.

Medium of education – It is easier for all to learn lessons in their mother-tongue. English medium puts extra strain upon the nerves of students and makes them crammers, imitators and unfit for original work and thought. Masses remains deprived. System is producing mostly the youth, who are unable to express clearly in any language, including their own and lack woefully the competence and confidence to assume responsibilities.

Early childhood Teaching –  Early childhood learning plays a vital in improving the quality and quantity of learning. Latest brain researches tell that first 2000 days are the most important in a child’s life, when children develop learning strategies, learn how to think and problem-solve. Children are born with billions of brain cells. Unless these are interacted with properly, they actually die off. Such programs needs to be developed that encourage the synaptic connections between those cells.

Early childhood Teaching, instruction and methodology is necessary for developing lifelong qualities in children. It is necessary to understand the importance to encourage Children to think, ask questions and develop problem-solving ability in them. There  should be more interaction between adults and the children.

Higher secondary, the weakest link in Indian education system – Higher secondary education is considered to be insufficient and a weakest link in Indian education system. It needs sincere efforts to improve the Academic standards, curricula and methods of teaching at higher secondary level. In western countries the standard of higher secondary education is sufficiently high to ensure recruits of higher intellectual attainment to join various jobs at this stage.

More stress on Degree/Diploma/certificates – The whole system of education and employment is degree, diploma or certificate-oriented. Degree is the master-key to a nice and respectable career and giving  high social status, authority and final reprieve from manual work. Such a narrow mind-set has put tremendous pressure on higher education system.  A large number of new substandard and superfluous institutions are being created every day to meet the demand.  Government also encourages mass entry into universities and colleges. Rush in institutions are of such students as well, who want degree as a passport and are not interested in studies. Such students seize every opportunity to spoil the academic atmosphere and breed indiscipline.

Indiscipline – There is a growing unrest in the student community. Youth of the day want to be absolutely free from all compulsions. For them, discipline and observance of rules are supposed to be unnecessary and irrational. They have no respect for rules/discipline/morality or for elders, teachers or authority. Their interests lie in all that is sensuous, in material gains and in enjoying pleasures in life. Indiscipline in student’s world leads to chaos and violence. It makes people slaves of their weaknesses.

Employability One of the major aims of education is to make youth employable. At present it is difficult to find out and recruit well qualified persons for various jobs in government, public or private sectors. At pre-employment stage, education needs to be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature for making youth acceptable in job-market. It needs to be supplemented by rigorous foundation training telling the fundamentals of their specific jobs and inculcating in them relevant knowledge and skills, otherwise effectiveness, efficiency and quality of work gets a setback. At present, all the basics about their jobs are told to employees after their join work-force, which requires a much more massive effort in order to make employees do their jobs well.

Unrealistic Manpower AssessmentAssessment of manpower requirement for economic growth is not done rationally according to national needs. After Independence, the need for technical people was felt and in recent past for management experts. The Government created large number of professional institutions in these areas without assessing the needs of the nation. It resulted in educated unemployment. A large number of scientists, doctors, engineer’s technicians and management graduates have to go abroad in search of suitable jobs.

Therefore, for streamlining the performance of people at work after employment, most essential and fundamental requirement is that the character and scope of pre-employment educational system should be redesigned in such a way, that it could continuously provide men and women of vitality, vigor, initiative and imagination with intellectual accomplishments, qualifications and soundness of character needed in different disciplines and at different levels at job market.

Where the fault lies? – For all these lacunas, students blame teachers, teachers blame students. Both together try to blame educationists. They, in turn, attack social system. The present system of education can not be changed or improved overnight. It needs concentrated efforts of all – students, teachers and the society. Then only a larger base of skilled and trained manpower could be created.

Conclusion

Rational thinking needs to be done about the real problems and the role of education in modern life after understanding its basics, fundamentals and aims correctly.

The present education system prepares students to get an employment and earn money. The requirement of a university degree as a Passport for starting nice and respectable career (white collard jobs) has made a mockery of higher education. Such an attitude has by-passed the need to “educate all”, resulted in negligence of primary and higher secondary education and in over-crowding the institutions of learning. The stress on quantitative increase has subverted all the attempts to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It has led to continuous fall in the academic standards and students’ discipline, regional imbalances in the growth of educational institutions and politics in the temples of learning.

In the present times of neck to neck competition, one should continuously upgrade knowledge and understanding and prepare candidates to meet the challenges of life creatively/positively, thus prosper in life. It is the best way to create a larger base of skilled and trained manpower. Education should instill in students problem-solving attitude and develop the courage to meet the challenges of real life bravely. Instead of offering excuses or blaming others for one’s failures and dissatisfaction, it should inculcate in students the spirit to face the difficult situations in life and make efforts to change their destiny themselves. Education must teach people always try to have control over ones life’s situations and to stand up on his own feet rather than depending on others for moving forward. Success in life depends on developing understanding plus capacity and courage to take right decisions at right time. For it self-observation is required.

Only sound system of education and training can provide a lasting solution for various problems, people are facing today. It can lead the youth towards rational, positive and creative thinking. It would make youth capable to make right decision at right time, plan rationally about their career that would suit to their attitude and aptitude and to shoulder their responsibilities properly. It would enable them to act judiciously and promptly, give them courage to avoid out-dated traditions and dogmatic ways of doing things, courage to face realities and challenges.

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June 17, 2015 Posted by | Education and training of civil services | 1 Comment

EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF HIGHER CIVIL SERVANTS – Government of India

Introduction

Very few nations in the world had to start with greater initial difficulties of political, social, economic and administrative character as India had to. Industrial backwardness, rapid population growth, illiteracy etc., were some of the handicaps which the Independent India had to handle. The position was further worsened by the partition.

Civil servants had to face these problems full blast. Side by side, continuous modernization, higher productivity, rapid advance in social justice and desire to improve the quality of service demanded the services to be effective, efficient and goal-oriented. The higher civil servants, are the most important component of the total set of civil services. It is they, who are deeply involved in formulation and execution of national policies and priorities.

In a system where the pre-entry Education is degree-oriented and not job-oriented, gaps between learning and practical requirement remain unfilled. This is where the Education and Training of Civil Servants becomes relevant. There has been a growing realization, in the recent years, all over the world that Education and Training was necessary for imparting knowledge, shaping attitudes, cultivating skills and building work-habits, for making the civil servants capable of meeting the challenges of modern times.

 The system of civil services – It is important here to trace the meaning of Civil Services and the places of higher Civil Services, its role in a Welfare State and Development Administration, classification of Civil Services before and after Independence and other allied issues, to establish the role of Civil Services and the expectations of the Society from the Civil Services.

 Role of civil service in a welfare and development state – After French and Industrial Revolutions, the values of mankind changed considerably. Misery and poverty, once regarded inevitable, were no longer acceptable and thus came into being the concepts like `Welfare State’ and `Developmental Administration’ – the former being the objective and the later the machinery to achieve these objectives.   While a welfare state takes care of its people from `womb to tomb’ and aims at improving the quality of life of its masses, the instruments deployed for achieving welfare goals – national reconstruction and development – is that of the Developmental Administration through the institution of Civil Service.

What is Civil Service – The term Civil Services could be said to be a body engaged in state’s administrative work, professionally recruited, permanent, paid and properly trained in various disciplines of administration. It assists the elected representatives of the people in matters of administration. Civil Services may be considered to be all the Government services – Financial, Technical and specialists as well as managerial and generalist. Since the Civil Services are the only permanent link between successive elected governments, they play a vital role in guiding the social changes and development in desired direction, specially in the case of less developed or developing countries, where society is in a state of transition.

  The constitution of India is based upon the concept of `Welfare State’. It follows the principle of `Justice: Social, Economic and Political’. The responsibility of implementing welfare plans and developmental policies is assigned to Higher Civil Service. Higher Civil Services under Government of India, may be grouped into two categories viz., (1) All India Service and (2) Central Services – technical as well as non-technical. Appointment into these services is made either through open competitive examinations comprising of written examination and interview conducted by the Union Public Service Commission or through promotions.

  “Education and Training – Theoretical Aspects” – Next step is to explore the    meaning of Education and training, objectives of training, types of training, training approach and strategies, training techniques etc. The term `Education’ connotes the process of increasing knowledge, understanding and attitudes of the candidates, so that they are better adjusted to their working environment.

`Training’ is an approach to improve the administrative output – quantitatively and qualitatively. It is a function of helping trainees to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, which they do not possess, but are needed by the organizations, of which they are a part.

The task of Education is to develop mental and moral faculties, which have a material bearing on the formation of character. In its wider sense it embraces reading, observation and thought. It is not a fixed period of theoretical or academic pursuit of knowledge leading towards award of degrees but a continuous process for complete upbringing of the individual right from his birth to death. Within its jurisdiction, it embraces the formation of habits, manners and character. As against this the training is primarily concerned with preparing the trainees for certain lines of action, which are delineated by technology and by the organization, in which he works.

While Education is only formal and can be provided at three levels – School, University and Job, the training could be both, formal and informal. Formal training may further be divided into four categories – pre-entry, foundation, in-service and post entry training – each for a different purpose. The pre-entry training prepares candidates for all sorts of jobs including civil service. This concept, however is not prevalent in India. Foundation training equips new recruits to Civil Services with understanding of political, social and economic infrastructure of the country as well as familiarizes them with the atmosphere, in which they have to work. In-service training takes over the training tasks initiated by foundation training and fills in the gaps inherent in informal training. Post-entry training is not directly related to the work of a trainee, but helps him in a long run. Informal training is to train the officials on the job, so that they could acquire administrative skills through practice.

Training strategies developed, so far, are that of academic strategy, laboratory strategy, activity, action-program strategy, person-development strategy and organization development strategy. The selection of appropriate strategy depends on factors such as training goals, resources available for training.

The methods or techniques deployed for giving training are field training, lectures and talks, study-tours, delegations, syndicate method, conferences, seminars and group discussions, case-study, role play exercise, management games, simulations, sensitivity training etc. Choosing a training method for any program depends on the training objectives, training needs, available time, skills and facilities. Right diagnosis of training needs through job-evaluation and research, clear objectives, right selection of training method, top level support, selection of right type of personnel for right type of program and proper evaluation help in making a training program successful.

“Indian System of Education and training of Higher Civil Services” – The Indian Civil Service has a long historical background and is a product of centuries, and so is the case of its Education and Training. It is important to know here the pattern of Education and Training in pre-independent India, legacy of the colonial past, the requirements of Independent India and existing system of Education and Training etc.

The system of Indian Civil Services has progressed slowly but steadily under three regimes – the East India Company, the Crown and the Indian Republic. Lord Cornballs (1786-1793) was the first to realise the importance of training the higher civil servants, and drew the attention of the Directors of the Company towards this issue. As a result, thereof, an East India College was established on May 12, 1805, at Halleybury, England. It had to, however, close in June 1855, due to opposition and criticism in responsible quarters. With the closure of Haileybury College, a system of competitive examination was introduced, in 1855, for recruitment to various Higher Civil Services, under the Crown.

 While the emphasis was given to the foundation training of ICS & IP Officials, the recruits to central services were trained on the job during their probationary period. The ICS recruits were given formal education and training for one year in one of the four universities – Oxford, Cambridge, London or Dublin. They were, then, sent to India to have field training for a year or so. IP recruits were sent to provincial training institutes for their formal education, after which they were also given field training. The probation period for all the services was two years. The higher civil services during British-India were exclusively trained to retain the Imperial Power. They were made the `Steel-frame of the whole structure’.

 The post-Independence era brought about fundamental changes. The Government now became the Government of a Welfare State bent upon socio-economic development of the masses rather than attending routine regulatory functions. The leaders of free India were suspicious of the capacity of the civil services of British India to carry out the welfare plans. They wanted to re-organize the administrative structure. But the events such as partition, migration of civil servants to Britain and Pakistan, unification of states etc., made it imperative not to disturb the ten existing administrative structure.   But the events such as partition, migration of civil servants to Britain and Pakistan, unification of states etc., made it imperative not to disturb the then existing administrative structure.

Consequently, save minor changes here and there, the administrative machinery set up during the Raj moved into the post-Independent era with many traditions of Imperial past. General framework of the Civil services, recruitment system, training system, generalist supremacy, anonymous character procedure oriented system, generalist supremacy, anonymous character procedure oriented system, salary-structure, centralization of power, caste considerations in recruitment to higher services and apathy towards masses were some of the legacies of the British India.

The independent India recognised the role and importance of Education and Training for inculcating the qualities of leadership, supervision, efficiency in communication, decision making etc. in its higher officials and also for changing their attitudes. Such a recognition is evident from the successive Five Year plan documents, reports of Administrative Reforms Commission and other Committees – all stressing the need for planned and systematic programmes of training for officials at various levels. As a result, there has been a quantitative expansion of training institutes and courses, as well as qualitative improvements in the schemes of Education and Training.

 A bold step, in this direction, was taken by creating a cell, in 1968, known as ‘Training Division’ in the Ministry of Home Affairs for general coordination and for stimulating in-service and refresher training courses run by various Training Institutions, which can be grouped in three categories – (1) Institutes run by the Government of India, (2) Institutes run by the State Governments, (3) Autonomous/Private Institutes. These institutions impart foundation as well as in-service through plan and non-plan program to senior officers of different departments at various stages and in various disciplines. Training in those areas, where adequate facilities are not available within the country, is given abroad under bilateral agreements and aid-program.

In order to promote deeper and wider understanding of the functioning of Education and Training pattern for higher officials in Government of India, the system prevailing in IAS and various functional services of Indian Railways has been examined here. The main reasons for taking up training system in IAS as case-study are the practically all the strategic and top-level posts at the center and states are held by IAS personnel and Government of India has been paying maximum attention to its training.

The system of education and training in Indian Railways has been examined because it comprises of almost fifty percent of the cadre strength of government employees. It is the only department in the government of India, where there are eleven services under one umbrella, each serving to different functional areas like finance, operation, health engineering, security etc. Besides, Indian Railways is a training conscious ministry, which has made many efforts to improve the health and wealth – mental as well as material – of its employees.

 Training of IAS personnel – Immediately after selection, the successful candidates of IAS are sent to the National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, for induction training. The probationary period for them get professional training, which is divided into Phase I, field, and phase II training. The Academy portion of the phase I training gives them theoretical understanding of their job. The focus of this course is on the organization and functioning of the district administration, both, in its developmental and regulatory aspects. Special emphasis is given to the role of administrator in rural development. Winter study tour of two months is a part of the seven months phase I training, during which they are attached to Public Sector Undertakings, Agricultural Universities, Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and National Development Board. They also spend a week amongst tribals to understand their problems.

  Then comes the field training for a year or so, which is the most important part of their training. The components of field training are – Institutional training in provincial staff colleges (two weeks), training at district headquarters (treasury training and collectorate training for 15 weeks), village attachment (2 weeks), block attachment (2 weeks), revenue attachment (1 week), sub-divisional attachment (1 week) independent development charge (16 weeks), survey and settlement training (4 weeks), agriculture training (1 week) and secretariat training (2 weeks). The Academy as well as state governments are supposed to watch the performance of the trainees during various facets of field training.

            After the field training, the professional training phase II starts, which is designed to bring together their theoretical understanding and practical field observation. It also prepares them to hold posts in real life. The duration of the course is two months, after which they are sent for army attachment for about fifteen days. The performance and involvement of the trainees in different training program, their participation in co-curricular activities and their general bearing, behaviour and attitudes is taken into account for the purpose of assessment.

             The Government pays equal amount of attention to their in-service training, so that they could be exposed to latest theories, methodologies, concepts etc. developed either within the country or abroad. It is ensured that each and every IAS officer gets in-service training at appropriate time.

 Training system in Indian Railways’ services – Indian Railways have set up their own specialized training institutions for higher supervisory cadres. These are Railway Staff College Baroda, Indian Railway Institute of Advanced Track Technology, Jamalpur, Indian Railway Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications Secunderabad and RPF training college at Lucknow. There are some services, where only a graduation is required. These are Indian Railway Service, Indian Railway Accounts Service, Indian Railway Personnel Service, Indian Railway Protection Force and Railway Board Secretariat Service.

For Technical Service, graduation in that particular discipline is required. These are Indian Railway Service of Engineers (Civil Engineers) Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers, Indian Railway of Service of Mechanical Engineers, Indian Railway Services of Signal and Tele-communication Engineers, Indian Railway Service of Stores, Indian Railway Medical Service. After their selection into various service through competitive examinations, the recruits are given intensive training – initial as well as in-service – to equip them with necessary knowledge of their specialized discipline in particular and of others in general. The probation period for all the services is of two years except IRTS, where it is three years, and Railway Medical Service, where it is three months. Foundation training is given to the recruits of all the services at National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie. After that they are given professional training – theoretical as well as practical – for their respective disciplines in various institutions of Indian Railways. There are adequate arrangements for in-service training also.

Other reasons for ineffective governance-  Although considerable attention has been paid to the Education and Training of IAS and Railway officers, yet it has not been able to bring out the desired results. – an inference based on opinion poll and interviews. It has been pointed out by different levels of officers that training time of initial training was insufficient. Recruitment system should be job-oriented instead of its being degree oriented. There was lack of interest among senior officers towards training. Officers were not trained to lead a simple life. The training system for IAS was too general. Generalist services were hampering technological advancement, because they tended to acquire almost all the higher posts even in departments of technical nature to promote their career prospects. Good trainers should be selected, instead of shunting unsuccessful officers to the institutes. These issues are not exclusive to the IAS or Indian Railways training system but can be generalized for all the services.

 Critical Review – The short-comings of the present Education and training system, which have been mentioned above, the question arises as to how to make the system effective.

 Building-up of responsible and efficient civil servant does not start from the day, he joins the civil services, but right from the day he starts his education. The pre-entry education has a vital impact on the personality building, outlook and maturity of the prospective citizens, whether or not they join the civil services. The pre-entry education should be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature, so that it could provide firm foundation for the continuing education of higher civil servants. If the education and training after their recruitment is correctional in nature, its effectiveness and efficiency would receive a set-back and a much more massive effort for training would be called for.

  As of today, the general pre-entry education system especially the higher education in India is increasingly becoming unrelated to national needs and aspirations, in-efficient, wasteful and dis-functional. Besides, the recruitment system – because any defect in recruitment system is likely to have an adverse effect on the system of civil service itself, frustrating the effort of national reconstruction – is also suffering from grave weaknesses. It is degree-oriented instead of job-oriented. It is also academic and favours the examination minded candidates. Just assessment of different subjects poses difficult problems in evaluation of comparative merits.

  Seeing the inherent weaknesses in Indian education system and recruitment system, it is suggested that the recruitment to various Higher Civil Services should be made immediately after higher secondary education at a raw age, when the minds of candidates are in a formative stage. It could be done through an open competitive examination as is being done for Defence Services or some mechanical engineers of Indian Railways. It would facilitate the Government to arrange properly for their continuing education and intensive and comprehensive training at various administrative colleges and training institutions. It would not only make it possible to have the intellectual knowledge and qualities required for performing their specific jobs, but would also inculcate in them emotional qualities and capacities required for doing their jobs such as social purposefulness, ability to understand the administrative and political implications of a problem and resourcefulness in solving them, capacity for team work and flair for leadership, which are basic requirements of any welfare administrators. The idea of such an Education and Training is not new to India and has proved to be successful in Defence and Railways.

  Some other organizational changes, through not directly related to training, could, to a great extent, help in increasing the effectiveness of the education and training of Higher Civil Servants –

  • The independent Indian needs smooth relationship between politicians and civil servants. There should not be any undue political interference on administrator.
  • There should be working partnership between generalist and specialist.
  • The salary structure should be reasonable and just otherwise the situation would lead to inefficiency and corruption.
  • There appears to be no scientific and sound rationale for keeping a substantial differential in the pay scales and career prospects of IAS and non-IAS, because in no way IAS personnel are superior to others either in intelligence, or in quality or recruitment, or in degree of responsibility or in nature of job or inequality of work-load.
  • There should be unified civil service with integrated pay structure, so that government could bring a sense of equity amongst various disciplines of civil service of their choice and would enable the candidates to go in for the service of their choice and aptitude and the government would be able to gain the full contribution of scientists, engineers, doctors, economists and officers of other disciplines.

“Conclusion” –  Following

  • foundation training should be made compulsory for all higher services – whether technical or non-technical;
  • the government and training institutions should be strict, so that trainees could take their training seriously;
  • training should be service oriented;
  • since 70% of the Indian population lives in villages, the officials should be familiarized soundly and intimately with the conditions, organizations, needs and aspirations of village people;
  • the higher civil servants should be trained to lead a simple life;
  • the super structure of skill, knowledge and efficiency should be raised on the foundation of discipline;
  • Senior officers should pay adequate attention and time to the training task;
  • The government should create a working atmosphere in the offices so that qualities like receptivity, originality, initiative, courage and sympathetic attitude towards masses, could be developed fully, while working;
  • The three partners in training – the organization, the training institute and the participant – should interact out of knowledge and understanding;
  • The training needs should be assessed properly by conducting job-evaluation and research and onward studies;
  • Instead of depending upon foreign material, adequate training material should be prepared and developed locally;
  • right methods and techniques should be chosen for various training programs;
  • selection of trainees should be done with great care;
  • enough motivation should be there for trainees, so that they can take their training seriously;
  • top-level officers should give full cooperation to training activities;
  • every training program should be evaluated properly;
  • there should be regular program review sessions;
  • the selection of the trainers should also be done with great care.

May 5, 2015 Posted by | Education and training of civil services | | 1 Comment

Education, the key for sustainable development

“Education is a fundamental right and the basis for progress in every country. … Prosperous countries depend on skilled and educated workers. The challenges of conquering poverty, combating climate change and achieving truly sustainable development in the coming decades compel us to work together. With partnership, leadership and wise investments in education, we can transform individual lives, national economies and our world.”  Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, United Nations.

“Literacy not only changes life, it saves and transforms lives. It is the bedrock of sustainability.”                Irina Bokowa, Director General,UNESCO.

” Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.” Immanuel Kant

“Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous.”  Confucius

‘Introduction

International Literacy day is celebrated all over the world every year on September 8. The theme for year 1914 is ‘Literacy and Sustainable Development’. This day is “an opportunity to remember a simple truth: literacy not only changes life, it saves them”, says Irina Bokowa, the Director general of UNESCO, in her message for the day. Acknowledge that quality education is key to sustainable development, a new set of goals for post-Millennium Development Goals (MDG) has been proposed at the 69th Session of United Nations General Assembly on 18th of September 2014. Started in 2000, the MDG period expires in 2015. The previous United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Education for All Global Monitoring Report says that almost 1 billion people are still likely to be extremely poor in2015 and 57.8 million children still out of school.

Therefore UNESCO had set up new goals to be effective from 2015 to 2030. It has set-up 16 goals like   –

  • Poverty reduction,
  • Nutrition improvement,
  • Health gains’
  • Gender equality and empowerment,
  • Economic empowerment etc.

In context of India

India with 1.4 million children ranks among top five nations with kids aged 6 to 11 out of school. It will take atleast another 56 years to achieve female youth literacy. As far as quality of education in India is concerned, even after completing four years of school, 90% children from poorer households remain illiterate.

Start of modern formal education in India

During British rule in India, in 1834, new modern education system was launched in India, which was based on colonized British Grammar School type education. The traditional Indian system of education had withered away for the lack of official support.

The modern education, since its inception, has influenced the Indian society and its culture in a big way. It has both of constructive and destructive effects on its culture. On one hand, it offered to Indian intelligentsia the key to the treasures of scientific and democratic thoughts of Modern ‘West’, on the other hand, it had disassociated Indian people from their culture, classical roots, knowledge and traditional way of living. Along with it, faded Indian values, philosophies and traditions.

Issues

The issues that arise here are – what ‘Culture’ is? What is the culture of India? When and why the system of education was changed? How has it been affecting the indigenous culture of India? How can Indians remain rooted to their own Culture? How can its culture be further enriched by taking advantages of the wide horizon of knowledge, modern education offers and of the technologies developed in the Western world? And how people in general could be prevented from being swayed away by the glamour and materialism of alien way of life and its culture?

Animal instincts within human being – History of evolution points out that in the beginning, animal instincts within a human were quite prominent. Thomas Hobbes has described that at that time the life of man was “nasty, brutish and short”. Degree of selfishness was at its peak. Only fittest could manage to survive in that hostile environment.

Formation of civilized society – At some point of time, people joined hands and started living together. Human beings made conscientious effort to overcome the animal instincts hidden within them. They developed empathy and the spirit to cooperate and help each other. It was through socializing and development of norms that people learnt, how to live together or how to treat others and others him. That was the beginning of culture/mannerism, which inspired human to form a cultured civil society.

Dictionary meaning of the term ‘culture’– According to dictionary, meaning of the term ‘culture’, it is –
  • an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior of a group that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations,
  • the customary beliefs, social norms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group;
  • The characteristic features of everyday existence (a way of life}.
  • The set of attitudes, values, goals, and practices shared by people in a place or time.

Features that reflect Culture – Culture includes within itself all the following features collectively like

  • Sophisticated language as medium of expression; arts and sciences as forms of human expression;
  • Thinking process as the way, people perceive, interpret, and understand the world around them;
  • social activities;
  • Smooth interaction with others fellow-beings; and
  • Spirituality as a path to salvation of soul,

All these qualities together and way of life transmitted through generations for the welfare of people, expressed through language and actions are included in culture.

United Nation on ‘culture’ – According to United Nation, a culture is a set of values, attitudes, language and ways of life. Whenever layers of culture and civilization are overshadowed, man’s real nature with all its animal instinct is exposed. Everything works well, when people are humane and familiar with the basics of their culture.

Culture leading to refinement – For keeping humans disciplined, every society enforces its own social, ethical, or legal rules. Culture leads to betterment or refinement, whether it is an individual, society or a nation. The more one follows those norms, the more cultured one is.

In short, culture of a society includes within itself knowledge, belief and behavior as well as attitudes values, goals and practices of that society. Culture is the full range of refined human behavior patterns. It constantly changes. Across different nations all cultures are concerned about values that are humane and universal.

Culture of India

Cultural richness – India presents a fascinating picture of cultural richness, which is mainly based on Vedic literature and philosophy. Civilization of India is one of the oldest alive civilizations of the world. Because of its tolerance and capacity of internalizing alien influences, its culture has been able to be one of the oldest, continuous and uninterrupted living culture of the world.( The other three being Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece)

Many principles and cultures developed in the past, within India as well as elsewhere in the world, had created such a wave that swept over the entire world for some time. An anti-wave, replacing such waves, emerged soon. It wiped off the previous influence. The Vedic culture and its basic tenets, however, have been proved to be an exception in this regard. It happened due to basic tenets of Vedic culture, which have always been very close to every Indian.

Vedic culture

The word ‘Vedic’ is derived from the word ‘Vid’ meaning ‘Knowledge’ and signifies’ ‘knowledge par excellence’. The Vedic culture came into being due to intermixing of the culture of Aryan invaders, who came to India in waves, with the culture of indigenous tribal people of India during 2nd century BC to 650 AD.

The Indian culture is identified with the whole of India. To foreigners, it represents the ancient culture in its eternity. It mainly originated and flourished in northern parts of India and later on spread throughout India.

Origin of Vedic culture

The origin of the Vedic knowledge and its culture can not be traced in any single founder; neither can it be confined in one single authoritative text. Its sacred knowledge has been handed down from time immemorial, earlier by verbal transmission and later on, in written form by the ancestor to succeeding generations.

Never ending process (‘Neti’, ‘Neti’) – Vedas teach that creation and quest for knowledge is a constant process, without any beginning or an end. It is a never ending process (‘Neti’, ‘Neti’). The Sages (Rishis and Munies) were believed that even Vedas were not the end for quest for knowledge or prescribes any final absolutes.

Strength of Vedic culture

The strength of Vedic culture is proved by the facts: –

  • Despite centuries of foreign rule over 75% of Indian population remains Hindu.
  • Had it become obsolete, it would have given place to other religions and cultures.
  • It influenced almost all other religions found in India.

Basic tenets of Indian culture

The basic tenets of Indian culture, which kept its continuity intact, despite numerous foreign invasions, migrations and assimilation of various groups, are as following:

Principles of ‘Varna’ ‘Dharma’, ‘Karma’ The foundation pillars of systems of Indian culture were the principles of ‘Varna, karma and Dharma’. Principles of Varna, Dharma and Karma together provided the whole society a quality of life and contributed to its growth.

‘Principle of Varna’ – Doctrine of Varna has given the Indian Society a stable, sustainable social structure. In the past, it had assigned duties to different groups according to their natural endowments, instincts and qualities.

Principle of ‘Karma’ – Knowledge is supposed to be necessary for giving Karma”, its due meaning, direction and value. Ignorance is considered to be leading to futile efforts destroying direction. Doctrine of Karma teaches people to accept their surroundings, as they are and extract as much happiness as possible. Principles of Karma make the inequalities, prevalent a society, tolerable.

Principle of Dharma – Principle of Dharma defines the duties and inspires people to do their jobs well, as all worldly honor and spiritual happiness were vested there. It assures the people that proper performance of one’s work, whether high or humble, whether of a priest, warrior, Shudra or yogi are equally important for the society and were, therefore, right, respectable and worth pursuing.

Sanatan Dharma (Concept of Eternal Values)- Sanatan Dharma (Concept of Eternal Values) nurtured the basic instincts of human beings over nature, after a deep study of natural instincts, inherent attributes and natural behavioral pattern and taking care of the basic physical, mental and spiritual needs of the human beings at different stages of life.

Spirit of Tolerance

Amongst all factors, which contributed to enrich and continuity of India’s culture has been the spirit of tolerance of Indian people.

  • Concedes validity to all the religions -Tolerance is most evident in the field of religion. Hinduism concedes validity to all the religions and does not lay down strictures against any faith or reject any religion or its god as false. That is why, all the twelve major religions of the world are present and flourishing in India without much hindrance. Hindu faith in an all pervading omnipresent god, multiplicity of god and goddesses as representing some portion of the infinite aspect of the Supreme Being, inspires it to accommodate people of all faiths.
  • No conversions – India has adopted the path of assimilation. Its main religion Hinduism does not believe in conversion or imposing its beliefs, practices and customs on others. It has neither repulsed any trend vehemently, nor allowed others to sweep its own established culture off the roots.
  • Truth, Ahimsa, peace and non-aggression – Tolerance is not confined to religion alone. It is seen everywhere in the Indian way of life. Firm belief in the principles, ‘Live and let live’, ‘to each according to his needs and from each according to his capacity’, ‘simple living and high thinking’ and faith in Truth, Ahimsa, peace and non-aggression have always been the part of Indian ethos.
  • Whole world is one family – ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, the whole world is one family Indians is the hallmark of Indian culture. In the past, people endure injustice and unfairness until they are pushed right to the wall. John Fischer mentions, Even during Bengal famine, an extreme situation – when necessity knows no laws, people did not take law in their own hands, nor was there any violence. No grocery stall, no rice warehouse, none of the wealthy clubs or restaurants was ever threatened by a hungry mob… They just died with docility, which to most Americans is the most shocking thing about India.’(John Fischer, India’s insoluble Hunger – 1947)

Positive effect of tolerance

Many times in the past, Indians had accepted oppression and exploitation without much protest, while such situations would have led to bloody revolutions elsewhere in the world.

Negative effects of tolerance

Even today, the people are tolerating the corruption, scams, scandals and criminal activities developed in political sphere, as well as inefficiency seeped deeply in administration without much protest. Administration is one such area, where tolerance is harmful, as it not only hinders the development, but also pushes the nation backwards.

Effect of these principles on society of ancient India

All these principles together had organized orderly performance of various functions needed to provide a quality of life to its people in the past. It gave them a distinct character, defined roles and organized inter-relationship of various sections of society. It prepared an atmosphere for co-existence of different sections of the society – be it ruler or ruled, be it rich or poor. It served to give Indian society coherence, stability and continuity; and held together different castes and communities having diverse languages and practices for generations – thus making unity in diversity a reality.

Composite Culture of India

The composite culture of India has absorbed the good points of other cultures enriching it further. More than anywhere else in the world, it holds a multitude of thoughts, processes them and practices them. There has been co-existence of varied belief, pattern and thought due to inter-mixing and cultural mingling.

The composite culture of India grew out of: –

  • Growth, influence and refinement of values of different religions generated within land of India.
  • Creative interaction between values of indigenous religions and religions of diverse migrating or foreign communities like Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism etc.

All the sects present in India, whether foreign or indigenous, have been influenced greatly by Vedic culture – its thinking, practices and systems. For a few centuries after the downfall of Hindu’s rule (around 5th-6th centuries), first under the rule of Turks or Muslim, the culture of Islam and their style of living, practices, traditions influenced the Indian society and afterwards Christianity under British rule flourished and dominated the scene allover in India.

Fusion of different cultures

The wonderful process of assimilation and fusion of different cultures has been a continuous process of the India civilization. It contributed to the cultural richness of India. Such flexibility is not seen in the West. When Christianity broke away from Judaism, it departed totally from the common cultural traditions. Therefore, it is very difficult for the Western world to understand and appreciate Indian culture fully.

  • Composite culture of ancient times – Before 6th century, a cultural synthesis took place. In ancient India, the assimilation of various racial, immigrants, locals, tribal, professionals or other groups under its mainstream was done through caste system by assigning each new group a separate caste identity. Assimilation of different social groups was done without imposing on them Hindu value system or annihilating the originality, internal order, customs or language of new groups joining the mainstream. India provided the atmosphere and opportunity the culture of each identity, coming into its fold, to flourish in its own way. A major cultural synthesis took place during 6th and 10th century between Vedic Hindu culture, Buddhism and Dravidian culture between Vedic Hindu culture, Buddhism and Dravidian culture.
  • Composite culture during medieval period – After the downfall of Hindu’s rule, under Turks, Muslim and British rule, Islam and Christianity received substantial state patronage for sufficiently long period. Their cultures flourished and dominated the scene allover in India. It led to another major cultural synthesis. After the 10th century, the thinking of Arabs, Turks and Afghan, mainly guided by reason, influenced Indian thought. As a result, Sufi and Bhakti movements emerged into the scene. These two sects taught the people to love and respect all human beings irrespective of caste or creed. These two sects taught the people to love and respect all human beings irrespective of caste or creed. These also brought changes in the nature of mutual understanding, communal amity and accommodation.
  • Modern times – Once again, during the period of 18th to 20th century, major cultural synthesis took place with modernization and industrialization ushered in by the British.

Survived vicissitudes of time

Culture of India has survived the vicissitudes of time, saved itself by erosion from within and assault from outside only because of the adaptability.

Maintained continuity

The composite culture of India managed to continue despite numerous castes and communities living here for time immemorial; despite numerous foreign invasions, migrations and assimilation of new groups; and despite cultures of Hindus, Islam and Christians receiving substantial state patronage for sufficiently long period at different points of time.

Every time Vedic culture re-emerged

There were periods during its long period of evolution, when its main Vedic culture had weakened and shaken the confidence of people in Vedic literature and its philosophies, especially under foreign rules. However, every time, it re-emerged and whenever it re-emerged; it did not destroy the culture of other sects, but assimilated their good points within itself.

Major force retain the cultural identity

The composite culture of India acted as a major force for the failure of Islam, Christianity and other religions to make headway in India even after mass conversion. Through it, Hindus could retain their cultural identity, while living under an alien political order, whether it was Turks, Mughal, Portuguese or British.

Vedic literature not only religious books

‘Vedic literature’ is a gold mine of Indian philosophy. The ancient Vedic philosophy and literature are found in Indian scriptures known as ‘Vedas’, ‘Smritis’ ‘Sutras’, and ‘Upanishad’. These scriptures are not only revered scriptures of Hinduism or religious books, but hold in itself a vast reservoir of knowledge and experiences of great Indian scholars called Rishies, who had devoted their life in search of knowledge. It is a perfect guide to the art of living.

  • “Ocean of knowledge in a jar”- According to Basham, these Epics contains “an ocean of knowledge in a jar.” (Wonder, That Was India). Vedic literature is a vast reservoir of knowledge. It presents a magnificent example of scientific division and orderly arrangement of rules, in a few words, in different branches of human knowledge, covering almost all the aspects of life, be it phonetics, arts, literature, medicine, polity, metrics, law, philosophy, astrology or astronomy.
  • Perfect guide to art of livingVedic literature is a perfect guide to art of living. It speaks of everything- on staying healthy, social values, improving concentration and tenets of behavior, which are relevant till today. Its rituals are techniques for leading a harmonious life.
  • Self-restraint and self-discipline – In the past, culture of India had encouraged Indians to adopt a self-restraint and self-disciplined life-style; be in tune with the forces of nature; live harmoniously and peacefully with their fellow beings; practice non-violence in thought, action and speech and not cause pain to anyone including oneself. It advised people to lead a self-disciplined life, to do one’s own work sincerely, not to interfere in other’s work and escape from apathy or indifference. It taught people to be self-observant and try to mend one’s own mannerism rather than telling others behave.
  • Stress on contentment – It has advised to be contented, to be self sufficient and to be satisfied with what one can earn honestly, but not to be greedy, jealous or too competitive; not to hoard or accumulate beyond one’s need; not to steal, beg, borrow or snatch belongings of others with or without their knowledge. According to Hindu philosophy, nature has provided enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for even one person’s greed.
  • No destructive activity – It has advised people not to waste energy or over-indulge oneself in wasteful and destructive activity. People should be honest and willing to help others; observe austerity, simplicity and discipline in life; maintain cleanliness of diet, body and mind. In short, it advised people always to try to rise above the animal instincts hidden inside human-beings.
  • Work is worship – Principle of Karma teaches people that Work is Worship. In modern world, when people are so conscious about ‘blue colored or white colored jobs’ and asserts their rights, pay scant attention to their duties, the faith in ‘Principle of Karma’ can inspires common man to do their duties sincerely. It teaches that any kind of work is worth pursuing and respectable. Any work done in its true spirit could never be derogatory or a waste. They should try for action par excellence. A work should not be valued so much for its external reward, as for the intrinsic satisfaction towards realization of Swadharma.
  • No Revenge or putting blame on others – No human has any control over taking birth in a family of one’s choice. Very few are born with silver spoon in their mouth. Everybody else has to make efforts for a better future. Principle of Karma also offers a convincing explanation for inequality, affluence, poverty and happiness. It prevents people from being revengeful or putting blame on others for their own failures, miseries. Everybody has to face the inexorable consequences of one’s doings. It teaches people that they are not the slaves of circumstances/environment, over which they do not have any control. Principle of Karma teaches common man to keep on making efforts for better future. None of their effort goes waste.
  • Hopes for better tomorrow – Nobody knows ‘when one is going to hook a fish’. Principle of Karma gives hope to people not to get disappointed by their present unfavorable circumstances. One should constantly make efforts to improve situation by performing one’s own duties well. By channelizing efforts, energies and capacities in proper direction and working hard, one can specialize in his specific area of work, strengthen character, improve economic status and contribute in social/national reconstruction.

Education restricted to those, who can keep its sanctity

In ancient India, education was confined to a very small section of Indian society. It was not so much that common people were debarred or denied access to education because of discrimination, as it was because of the method of education. In absence of any written material, priestly schools in India had devised a most remarkable and effective system of transferring knowledge to succeeding generations in form of hymns. They restricted it only to those, who possessed brilliant feats of memory and capability to keep its extreme sanctity. Opening verse of Chapter (IV) says, “I gave this philosophy of (life and action called) Yoga to men of responsibility, so that, through this philosophy, they will become strong to serve and protect the people, to nourish the people.”

Rituals guidelines to lead a harmonious, disciplined and healthy life

The rituals were the techniques to help and guide the masses of all sects of India to lead a harmonious, disciplined and healthy life. Some rules were prescribed to be observed in day to day life to stay healthy, others to live in a hygienically clean atmosphere, live a self-restraint and self- disciplined life and to develop human relationship including the give-and-take of socialization especially during a variety of festivities and life-celebrating events.

Essence of the knowledge and experiences of Intelligentsia – The knowledge and experiences of Intelligentsia of ancient India (Yogis, sages and Munies) benefitted the whole community from top to bottom. The sages of ancient India prescribed certain rules, customs and rituals to be observed by the common men. Through these rituals, masses benefitted by the deep thinking and experiences of sages of many generations; and the vast treasures of Indian philosophy, rational. These rituals gave a sense of direction to the masses. Masses were disciplined through infinite variety of rituals, prayers, practices, customs and meditation envisaged/prescribed by the learned sages.

Wrong practices developed deformities – Most of rituals, customs and traditions have lost their sanctity and developed many distortions because people started following them blindly and in a wrong way. People are losing the spirit of these rituals and festivals. It is necessary to understand correctly what for they actually meant, or what the messages behind it are. For example –

  • Festival of Holi in India was traditionally played by making colors from the flowers and herbs. Gulal was popular for its soothing qualities. But over the years, natural colors have been replaced by synthetic colors. Synthetic colors spoil the fun. They can cause serious skin problems, eye irritation and from skin allergies can lead to cancer.
  • The purpose of Holi festival is to inspire people to meet and greet each other with love and affection, forgetting old rivalries and enmity. Now many a times, people get beserk. They think holi is meant for fun. In the name of fun (mauj and masti), they play Holi in rowdy manner, misbehave and take advantage thinking it a good time to settle old scores. They use everything available to give others a really tough time, – pucca paints, dyes, grease, mud, throw each other in a pit of mud, throw balloons filled with water/coloured water and drink bhaang and get intoxicated and sometimes violent.
  • The ill-effect of this change is that people dread to move out their houses almost a week before Holi. There are many fatal/serious accidents due to drunken driving, dangerous driving, over-speeding, triple riding, driving without helmets or seat-belts is common sight during Holi

Wrong practices, quite often develops a widespread misunderstanding and give birth to social evils, caste-conflicts, feudal oppressions and mass poverty.

Impact of Vedic philosophy and literature on Indian society

The impact of Vedic philosophy and literature on Indian society was as following –

  • No confusion in matter of work – All the functions needed for the maintenance and growth of the society were divided amongst different groups. Each group was assigned a distinct function to perform. There was no confusion or frustration on matter of work, because every body had his traditional occupation.
  • Dignity and honor for everyone –One of the unique features was that it provided work and employment to all. It avoided rivalry or bitterness for pelf, power or position amongst different sections of society. Each and every group served the community. All the groups lived with dignity and honor with the feeling that they, too, were contributing something to the society.
  • Clear vision of responsibilities – Clear-cut definition of rights and duties for each group, based on its traditional occupation, developed clear vision of its responsibilities.
  • Checks and balances – Orderly division of labor based on certain principles and its combination with the principle of inter dependence developed its own systems of checks and balances over arbitrary use of its authority.
  • Decentralization of authority – There was an automatic decentralization of authority.
  • Inculcated discipline in masses – Discipline was inculcated amongst ignorant masses through infinite variety of rituals, prayers, practices, customs and meditation envisaged/prescribed by the learned sages.

Contribution of some saints

Tulsi, a Follower of Bhakti (Devotion) MargTulsidas took Rama out of Temples (Mandirs) or massive structures, freed Him from the clutches of Brahmins and placed Him in the hearts of common man. Importance of Ramayana, according to Sri Satya Sai Baba, is that principles of Ramayana teach peace, love humanity and unity. It teaches value of detachment from objective pursuits and realization the presence of Divine in every being. Renunciation leads to joy and attainment brings worries. The characters of Ramayana represents – Dasaratha is the representative of physical senses, three queens queens of three qualities (gunas) – serenity (satwa), passion (Rajas), sloth (tamas). The four goals of life are to get over ‘Kaam, Kroth, Lobh, Moh’. Rama represents righteousness in deed, word and thought, ever pure and totally free from blemish. Lakshmana symbolizes intellect, sugriva wisdom (viveka), Baali despair, Hanuman embodiment of courage. The three demon chiefs are personification of Passion (Rajasic), slothness (taamasic) and serenity (satwic). Sita is awareness of Universal Absolute (Brahma-jnana)

Kabir (15th century Sufi ‘Nirgun’ Sant) and other Sufi Sants – They did not believe in idol worship and criticized communalists and fanatics. Their followers interpreted the life and message of the saint poets. All their life they fought against orthodoxy, the ritualistic interpretation of religion and advocated spiritual uplift of a person. But after their death, most of them were caged in the same circle of rituals.

Vivekanand (a 19th century scholar saint) – To Vivekanand, Dharma meant fulfilling duties, not performing mere rituals. Religions are the ways to reach the divine and not to confront any other faith. He did not believe in conversion and advised people to stick to their own religion. In his famous 1893 Chicago speech at World Parliament of Religions said, “I am proud of my Hinduism, which is tolerant and inclusive.” However, some fanatics did great disservice when they use this message not to spread Hinduism’s message of tolerance, but to express a supremacist mentality.

II

Modern education

Modern education in India (Before Independence)

In 1835, Lord Macauley successfully laid the foundation of modern education in India. In 1844 through a Declaration knowledge of English was made compulsory for Government employment. It made English medium schools very popular. The traditional Indian system of education gradually withered away for the lack of official support.

The universities at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were started in 1837 and higher education spread rapidly thereafter. Since the British were not much interested in scientific and technical education, only three Medical Colleges one each at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras was established by 1857. There was only one good engineering college at Roorkee.

Purpose of introducing Modern Education system

Finding it too costly and perhaps practically impossible to import enough Englishmen to man the large and increasing number of subordinate or lower posts in administration, British rulers planned of educating Indians in such a way that they “should through western education get Anglicized in terms of both cultural and intellectual attainments”. Lord Macauley clearly said that, “we must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.”

Served Double purpose

Introduction of modern education had served a double purpose for the British rulers- they got the credit for the amelioration of the Indian society. But at the same time, through it, they devised a unique method of distribution of power, kept balance of power and prolonged their rule in India by keeping the natives busy in their in-fights.

Welcomed by all

The atmosphere was completely ready, when Lord Macauley to lay the foundation of modern education in India by 1835. Missionaries as well as National leaders, intellectuals and Reformers not only welcomed but exerted pressure on the company to encourage and promote western education in India.

For Missionaries

For Missionaries, modern education was a good recipe to brainwash Indians and to attract many Indians especially belonging to lower strata towards Christianity. Modern education and preaching of religious minded Westerners like William Webberforce or Charles Grant etc. had made their job easy. Formal education in educational institutions under British government led to mass conversion into Christianity. It had succeeded in leaving a deep influence in the minds of both educated and uneducated.

  • Brainwashing educated Indians – In educational institutions under British government or in Missionary schools, an ideological attack was launched purposely on Indian value systems. Indian social structure and its values and systems were described as “discriminatory,” “iniquitous,” “exploitative,” “oppressive” “barbarous,” “uncivilized” and “highly stratified”. Indian social-structure, based on caste system, was held responsible for all evil social practices, feudalistic attitude, backward thinking, belief in dogmas and superstitions sustained by a unique set of rituals, and whimsical concept of purity and pollution.

Formal education in missionary or government aided schools and colleges developed a complex in the minds of educated Indians about primitiveness of Indian society and its value system. Many educated Indians were influenced greatly by the alien culture. Some of them got converted into Christianity.

  • Education and employment an attraction for poor – Missionaries had attracted the attention of poor ignorant masses by preaching and by providing for submerged sections of Indian society opportunities to get free modern education in missionary schools and permanent jobs. Liberal grants were given by the British government to missionaries and their schools for this purpose. It helped missionaries to lure the downtrodden/people, belonging to lower strata, towards Christianity.

Hopes, national leaders and Reformists had from ‘Modern Education’

Humanitarians, intellectuals, leaders and leaders and social reformers welcomed rationality and other good features of Modern English education. They hoped that modern education would –

  • Enlighten Indians by giving them the key to open the treasures of scientific discoveries and democratic, liberal and humanitarian thoughts of the modern ‘West’through Western literature and philosophy.
  • Make people aware of the real issues hampering the progress of Indian society, remery the social, political and economic ills of the country and improve the life of common men by enabling them to conquer ignorance, hunger, poverty and disease.
  • Spread of the Principles of Democracy across the nation to bring to an end imperialism and tyranny of British rule.

Impact of the efforts of National leaders

Modern education did produce much-needed manpower for lower levels of administration, as desired by the rulers. But it also generated groups of visionary national leaders, intellectuals and reformers during second half of the nineteenth century and beginning of twentieth century like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dadabhai Naoroji, Ferozeshah Mehta, Gokhale, Gandhi, Jinnah, Ambedkar, Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Moti Lal Nehru, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Neta Subhash Chandra Bose, Patel etc.

Aim, Economic and social uplift – The thrust of Indian leaders and intelligentsia was purely an economic and social. They put emphasis on education and science. They took upon themselves the responsibility to build a modern, open, plural, culturally rich, prosperous and powerful India out of a fragmented, poverty stricken, superstitious, weak, indifferent, backward and inward looking society.

Constructive Influence of modern education on Indian society

Eighteenth century onwards, modern education led to social awakening, gave impetus to social progress and brought many reforms. It had influenced substantially the working style and thinking of missionaries, reformers, educationists and many Indians, especially those belonging to elite and intellectual sections of society. Some of the positive effects of modern education on Indian society were as follows –

  • Opened up the doors of the knowledge – Modern education opened up the doors of the knowledge flourished in Europe after Renaissance movement of Middle Ages. It had widened the mental horizons of Indian intelligentsia.
  • Highlighted evil practices – Modern education had highlighted the weaknesses and real issues, which had developed in the system like rigidity and harshness of social customs and practices prevalent at that time for the weaker sections of the society i.e. women and lower strata of society.
  • Attracted attention of social reformers – Modern education had attracted the attention of social reformers towards social evils caused by ignorance, superstitions or irrationality like mumbo-jumbo of rituals and superstitions created by some selfish people to entangle the ignorant and poor masses, un-touch-ability and inhuman treatment to women, Sati, Polygamy, child marriage etc. etc. prevalent at that time.
  • Realization of the worth of liberty and freedom – Indians realised the worth of liberty and freedom. They got exposure to the philosophies of thinkers like Locke, Mill, Roussseau, Voltaire, Spencer and Burke etc. They came to know about the reasons and impact of English, French, American revolutions. It equipped national leaders with the intellectual tools, with which they fought the oppressive British Raj.

The destructive effects of modern education on Indian society

Some of the adverse effects of modern education system on Indian society were –

  • Disintegration of Indian society – Divisive policies of British rulers divided the whole of Indian society into many uncompromising groups. The primary aim of British rulers was to ‘divide and rule’ and keep the natives busy in their in-fights. They adopted racial discrimination and many repressive policies in order to disintegrate Indian society. On surface, everything appeared fine, but in reality it compartmentalized the Indian society into uncompromising groups by taking the path of discrimination. National leaders, Reformers and a section of intelligentsia could feel the damage, British racial discrimination and their repressive policies were doing.
  • Rise to unhealthy competition – Modernization of the pattern of education and occupations (making knowledge of English as basic qualification for white collared jobs especially in government) along with industrialization increased role of formal education and training for furthering future prospects of people.

In near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, people had to depend entirely on modern education and Government jobs for earning respectfully. Stiff competition for getting enough space in modern callings divided the Indian society. Opportunities in modern education and government jobs became the bone of contention between different sections of the society. The monopoly of Brahmins in these areas cautioned the British and generated anger amongst the non-Brahmin communities and Muslims. In the Southern states, there emerged two rival groups – Brahmins and Non-Brahmins and in the North – Hindu and Muslims.

  • Biased census operation – British rulers redefined the structure of Indian society through Census operations according to their administrative convenience. Census operations divided Indian society into different political groups – Upper castes, Lower castes, Backward castes, minorities Tribals and untouchables – on basis of race, religion, caste, creed, or place. The government recognized all these groups officially. It divided Indian population into different un-bridgeable groups. It politicized caste and community, which were made tools for Indians to fight amongst them from now onwards.

The government allowed forming their own pressure groups. It gave encouragement to all of them to pursue their sectional interests or to insist for their claims in the areas of education, white collared jobs and power- structure of the country.

  • Racial discrimination giving birth to National movement – During 1858 to 1905, the British Government adopted a racist attitude under the garb of the policy of apparent association. British, philosophers and writers started propagating theories of racial superiority and thereby, justified the domination of white races over dark races of the globe. Historians like Mill, Wilson, Ward vehemently denounced the culture, character and social structure of the native people.

The discriminatory and repressive policies and practices of British rulers alarmed the national leaders. Racial discrimination in the areas of education and jobs and their repressive policies elsewhere; Economic loot; political subjugation; assertion of lordly superiority over the subject on the ground of race; assumption of a haughty exclusiveness; persistent insulting and supercilious behavior towards all Indians; exclusion of Indians from all places of honor, authority and responsibility; and denial of their capacity for self-governance united Indians against British rule. The destructive character of repressive policies of British rulers lit the fire and gave birth to national movement.

  • Masses remained illiterate – Though during second half of the nineteenth century, British government in India opened the doors of education to all sections of Indian society, irrespective of caste or creed, very few amongst the general public could avail the advantages of formal modern education. Education remained confined within a small section of societyIt was only impoverished group of Brahmin and caste Hindus in search of respectful livelihood, who opted for modern education. Educating general public was not the aim of British rulers. Relentless efforts of missionaries, with an aim to convert poor people into Christianity, could educate a very small number of people from amongst them. Reasons being:
    • Modern education was very costly and, therefore, unaffordable by the masses.
    • Masses did not see any immediate use of education. It was more important for them to work and arrange two square meals day.
    • English as a medium of instructions in education and as Official language. It alienated the masses from the educated Indians. English gradually became the language of elite section of Indian society.
  • White collared jobs- Introduction of modern education in 1835 and introduction of Wood’s dispatch of 1854, known as Magna Carta, which declared English as an official language, changed the scenario. It gave importance and popularity to ‘White collared jobs’ in organized sector. Declaration of English as Official language pushed the masses away from new employment opportunities. More a person withdraws from physical labor, more honored; civilized and qualified he/she is considered by modern society. The trend of easy and quick money started.
  • Discredited traditional occupations – Emergence of white-collared jobs based on formal education tended to make many traditional occupations obsolete, as they were considered less paying, more hazardous or time consuming. It scattered the efforts, sense of direction and manufacturing skills of millions of artisans, craftsman, weavers etc. There had been casualty of workers first, afterwards their work style, commitment, motivation and culture. They lost their creativity, sense of achievement and pride. Work culture has changed tremendously since then.
  • Unemployment increased – Very few of them could join modern occupations. Majority of people could neither enter into modern sector, nor could stick to their traditional occupations considering the menial work derogatory. In the near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, most of them had no option, but either to join band of agricultural labors, industrial workers and marginal labor for their survival or increase number of unemployed or under employed.
  • Traditional jobs hijacked by educated entrepreneurs – Some young entrepreneurs, having education, money and awareness, did market survey and hijacked many discarded traditional occupations. They modernized such disdained and contemptuous jobs like mechanization of fishing or leather industry and made them profit oriented. Even less capital-intensive occupations like that of barber or washer-men have been hijacked by educated middle class. They re-christened them as saloon, laundry etc and employed those poor traditional workers, who were earlier practicing such occupations independently.

Modern education and Reform movements

Social reforms of 19th and early 20th century – The thrust of reformers was purely social. They got alarmed at the erosion of rich ancient Culture of India. Modern education was steadily disassociating Indians from their traditional way of learning, classical roots and knowledge. They undertook the path of internal reforms. They tried to revive it through Sanskritization.

  • Formation of Social reform organizations in 19th and early 20th century – The thrust of reformers was purely social. Many organizations were formed allover India, like Brahma Samaj founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1828) in Bengal or Prarthana Samaj in Maharashtra (1867). Arya Samaj (1875) was founded by Swami Dayanand in Northern India, and Rama Krishna Mission, Theosophical Society of India (1879), Dev Samaj in Lahore and Servants of India society. They suggested people to form similar organizations allover India spread awareness amongst common man.
  • Efforts to awaken the masses and interpret religion rationally – Social reformers took upon themselves the job to revive their own rich ancient culture and prevent the masses from being swayed away by the glamour and materialism of alien culture.

They organized people, held conferences and published articles to inspire and spread awareness amongst the people allover India. They interpreted religion rationally. They familiarized the masses with the greatness of Hindu Vedic culture and about Vedas as the source of all knowledge and truth. The intellectual ferment was strongest in West Bengal, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu as there was more rigidity than other parts of India in observances of various rituals and rules. Illiterate and ignorant masses followed them blindly.

Advice of social reformers to Indians

Social reformers drew attention of the public towards the real issues hampering the progress of Indian society and guided people to remain firmly rooted to Indian Culture.

  • Advice to eradicate social evils – Social reformers told people to stop all forms of exploitation, inequality and injustice and then move forward. Emphasis was laid on education and science. They asked people to fight against all inhuman practices or treatment given to women and lower strata of society at that time. Women were victimized because of evil practices like Sati, Polygamy, child marriage etc. And practice of untouchablity, which developed into the system made millions of people from lowest strata of society to suffer because of arrogance, ego and irresponsible behavior of some persons. Such persons were responsible for creating the mumbo-jumbo of rituals and superstitions to serve their own vested interests and entangle/exploit the ignorant and poor masses.
  • Free Hinduism from all degenerate featuresSocial reformers advised people to set free Hinduism from all degenerate features without foreign intervention. They asked the submerged sections of society to fight with “Abhava” (Scarcity), “Agyan” (Ignorance), “Annyaya” (Injustice), and “Alasya” (Laziness), as these were the causes of all evils.
  • Not the principles, but practices went wrong – Reformers believed that it was not the Hindu principles, but the practices, which went wrong. Vivekanand who founded the Rama Krishna Mission said, It is we, who are responsible for our degradation. … He said, “Each nation like each individual has a theme in this life, which is its center, the principle note, around which every other note comes to form the harmony. If any nation attempts to throw off its national vitality, the direction, which has become its own through the transmission of centuries, that nation dies.” i
  • Call to ’Return to Vedas’ – Swami Vivekanand and many other reformers asserted the superiority of Hindu Vedic culture. They gave a call to “Return to Vedas”, as Vedas were to them source of all knowledge and truth. They advised Indians to interpret religion rationally and remain firmly rooted to their own Culture.

Familiarizing the masses of India and the Western World

Awareness about its greatness confined within a small group – For a long time, the greatness of Indian culture and its philosophy was known only in India, that too, not to the whole of India, but only to a few Sanskrit scholars. For the first time in the 8th century Sankaracharya placed it before the people. Even then, its worth was realized within the world of few scholars and saints.

Later on, during 19th and 20 centuries, Saint Jnanesvar, Vivekanand, Rama Krishna Mission), Lokmanya Tilak, Theosophical Society of India and others tried to reveal to the common man and Western world the greatness of Indian Philosophy and culture as well as the charm and graciousness of Vedic literature. They contributed in making Vedic culture popular all over India.

Inspiration not only Indians, but foreigners as well – From now onwards, this gold mine of knowledge and vast treasures of Hindu philosophy with all its rational thinking, social and religious experiences contained in Indian Scriptures and Epics have inspired not only Indians, but foreigners also, not only in the past, but at present as well. Indian philosophy and its value system gave to people, a purpose to live for and ideals to be achieved. It commanded the respect and attention of an average Indian once more. German scholars, in the early Nineteenth Century and English scholars in the late Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century were deeply fascinated by Hindu philosophy and its rich spiritual and traditional treasures, accumulated through centuries.

Scholars reinterpreted it for a rational mind – Intellectuals from India as well as various countries have translated it in their own languages and reinterpreted it for a rational mind with an aim to spread it throughout the world.

. After Independence

With minor changes here and there, the education system basically remained the same. Karl Marx remarked that British, had a double mission in India, one destructive, the other regenerating; the annihilation of the old Asiatic Society and laying the material foundation of Western Society in Asia.I (Dutt RP, India Today, p476) The regenerating character can be seen in the social transformation in India through modern education. British rulers made English language as a medium of learning and official language. There was modernization in economic sphere. It led to political unification of the country and laid foundations for many democratic institutions.

The reactionary and destructive character was seen in the economic and social sphere. The growth of casteism had a close connection with these developments. Its result on Indian society was –

Complex in the minds of many educated Indians about their social values –Modern education has developed a complex in the minds of many educated Indians about the primitiveness of Indian society and about efficacy of its value systems. Many educated Indians have lost faith in social customs and practices altogether. Some Indians consider Hindu philosophies and its way of life impractical, or its social practices indefensible.

Apathy towards their values and systems – Apathy towards their value systems has made a large number of intelligentsia alien in their own country. It has disassociated them from their own way of living, classical roots and traditional knowledge. With it; are fading steadily Indian value-system, philosophies and traditions. Usually a person becomes miserable, when he is cut off from his source of life – his own roots. A large number of educated Indians have lost faith in the traditional values, principles and way of life. They have lost faith not only in their fellow-beings, but also in themselves.

Wide gulf between common man and educated – Quality of education, especially in government or government-aided educational institutions has also deteriorated to a great extent. The costly nature of quality education especially in private institutions has further alienated uneducated masses from educated ones. Quality education has become a monopoly of the richer classes and city dwellers. Their youth have become quite insensitive, arrogant and does not hesitate speaking their minds bluntly.

Culture of Neo-rich – A drastic change is visible in the values, behavior and etiquette of a new educated neo- rich youth of elitist class, which has emerged especially in urban areas and Metros. Their life style and value system have been gradually replaced by the Western ones. They want to enjoy pleasures of modern life at any cost. They are more conscious of their rights.

Undisciplined behavior – Present-day youth want to enjoy life fully in any possible way without any bondage/restriction/comment on their behavior or way of life. Loosening grip of social bondage and observances has made many of them selfish, self-willed and arrogant. Some of them have become so intolerant and aggressive, that they out-rightly discard all social norms and etiquette. Their thinking and value systems are quite different from the older ones.

Failure of Present Education System – Education is supposed to develop positive thinking in learners, so that they can channelize their efforts, make their thinking-base broader and flexible, increase openness to information and enhance spirit to work hard, sincerely in a responsible manner in order to attain desired goals. Present system of education has miserably failed to inculcate in youth these qualities. They do not have a clear vision about their aims and ambitions, courage to own responsibilities, face bravely the challenges in life and a balanced approach towards one’s rights and duties, which are the basic ingredients of any cultured/matured/civil society.

Large population of Illiterates and unskilled work-force – ‘Education for all’ and ‘employment for all’ is still a dream. Lack of proper education and training systems combined with illiteracy and lack of skills amongst a large number of people has turned the visions of national development into empty dreams. Only 64.84 people are literate according to 2001 census, (Males – 75.26% and Females – 53.67%). In absolute number, the figure is alarming. No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled. Not only the number of illiterates and unskilled is a matter of concern, but also quality and insufficient resources of education and training are the matter of great concern. Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on available infrastructure of education and training.

All powerful Government making common man a pigmy – Being a ‘socialist’ and ‘Welfare state’, government has assumed absolute power and taken over itself the responsibility of improving the quality of life of its people from `womb to tomb’. Instead of being a facilitator, it has become the provider. Instead of teaching people ‘how to fish’, it obliges different sections of society by ‘giving a fish’. It has led to centralization of all control systems and made common man a pigmy.

Populist policies to catch vote-banks – In order to create vote banks discriminatory populist policies are being pursued in the name of ‘equality’ or ‘social justice’. More emphasis is being given in pursuing abstract and emotional issues rather than solving the real problems of people. Attempts for social changes make a virtue of narrow loyalties of caste and religion, generating sub-cultures like favoritism, lure for easy money, nepotism and, in-discipline in the society. Caste and communal conflicts are increasing. There are sectarian and regional imbalances generating social and psychological tensions.

Unhealthy competition – There is neck to neck competition for a few places in educational institutions of repute or in employment, especially in organized sector. Rivalry and bitterness for pelf, power or position is continuously increasing. Total aversion of youth from their traditional occupations and stiff competition elsewhere for employment pushed millions to poverty. It has rendered millions of people unemployed or underemployed, who are now wasting all their efforts and most energetic and creative time of their lives, while hunting for a job.

Effect of Political turmoils on Indian society – Recent political turmoils have adversely affected the whole atmosphere. A few Individuals and groups, with political, money or muscle power control the destiny of millions and have say in almost every walk of national life. They are working day and night to deny justice to common men and upright citizens. Favouritism, in-discipline, violence, corruption, lure for easy money, nepotism and chase of materialism based on ruthless competition have weakened the social fabric beyond repair. The erosion of basic moral and human values has turned the life of men, “nasty, brutish and short”.

Standard of Administration – Standard of governance has declined. Work culture in government offices whether at Centre, state or local level, has been degenerated. Under-currents of caste politics have made the task of governance difficult, making the governance difficult and ineffective. It has given birth to sectarian and regional imbalances generating social and psychological tensions. People are disgusted with the non-performance of government. The administration has become incompetent to solve the burning national issues.

Technological advancement – Scientific and technological developments has endowed human with tremendous power both to preserve and destroy. At slightest provocation, people do not hesitate to unleash destructive powers accessible to them. That is one of the reasons for increase in the incidents of violence and crimes.

Conclusion

There is no denial to the fact that Modern education has brought social awakening and awareness amongst people all over India. Recent revolutionary developments in the areas Science and technology, information technology and mass media have brought tremendous changes in the life style and working of people. Thanks to it, now any kind of information in any area of human knowledge or about any aspects of life is easily accessible, that too at the door-step of each and every individual. It has made the present generation much more informed about the developments happening anywhere in the whole world and knowledgeable than previous generations. But only gaining knowledge is not enough.

Khalil Gibran has pointed out that a little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that remains inactive. A person, whose knowledge is confined to books, is unable to use his wealth of knowledge, when the need arises. Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.

According to Hindu philosophy, human beings possess three shakties (Powers) – knowledge, will and action. A human mind consists of right knowledge, wrong knowledge, fancy imagination (illusion), sleep, memory. It is only the right kind of knowledge, which gives essence and which is the source of spiritual light and remover of all ignorance. Knowledge brings in understanding and consciousness that vibrates with different types of learning. Right kind of knowledge, like a rock, is a solid support to human beings, which stays with them all the time. Spiritually it brings harmony and peace of mind and materially happiness, relaxation and celebration in life.

There is a difference between knowledge gained through information (intelligence) and its application to real day today life (intellect or wisdom). Intelligence leads to the world of information and knowledge. And intellect enables one to analyze, reason, judge the thinking process and distinguish between facts/realities and opinion. Intellect guides how to apply knowledge. It is lack of intellect that leads a person to vices like egoism, superiority complex etc and creates problems in people’s life and in the world. Only intellect can control human mind and lead it mind to right direction. When intellect becomes weak, negative reasoning takes over mind.

Intellect shows the path to come in touch with ones own inner truth, becoming truly aware of oneself. Self realization/self introspection changes the attitude of a person. After knowing ones strengths and weaknesses, rise above ‘I, me and myself’. It makes a person to put stress on life principles, understand better oneself and other people around without bias, make more intelligent choices and stay calm in the face of crisis and chaos.

Modern education led to ‘Intelligence’, but not to ‘intellect’ – Modern education has made people intelligent and knowledgeable, but could not develop the ‘intellect’ of people properly. Revolutionary developments in the areas Science and technology, information technology and mass media made all kind of knowledge accessible and organized knowledge, but could not guide people to organized life.

Deficiencies of modern education system – Modern education, which has been inherited from the British, has brought social awakening and awareness all over India amongst Indian people. But there are also certain deficiencies in it. Internally, as Mahatma Gandhi had pointed out long ago, modern education based on colonized British Grammar School type education has deprived masses. English medium has put undue strain upon the nerves of the Indian students, made them crammers, imitators and unfit them for original work and thought. India’s massive human resource needs to be cultivated through sound system of education and training to get out of the rut of mediocrity.

Ignored the culture of heart – Modern education has ignored the culture of heart and hand and confined itself simply to head. It has made people aware of their rights, but unfortunately not about their duties. It has pushed modern youth away from their roots and their own culture, which advised them to adopt a self-restrained and self- disciplined life style, to learn to be contented, honest and willing to help others; to observe austerity, simplicity; to maintain cleanliness of diet, body and mind and; not to waste energy or over-indulge oneself in wasteful and destructive activity. In short, it advised people to rise above the animal instincts hidden inside human-beings.

Pushed people away from their indigenous culture – It has not taught youth of the day to have pride in their surroundings. More modern and advanced they become, the farther they are removed from their surroundings and at the end, becoming estranged from their surroundings. People basically become miserable when they are cut off from his source of life- one’s roots.

Today, people are loosing their natural character, because they are getting away from roots, from their traditional aspirations and values in preference to the western materialism. The traditional culture in its true form can still give to the people, a purpose to live for and ideals to be achieved. Modern educated intelligentsia needs to stop imitating the ‘West’ blindly.

Suggestions

Common men in India still have faith in good intentions and wisdom of their ancestors, who have contributed in developing the culture of India. Rajgopalachari has said, “If there is honesty in India today, any hospitality, any charity— any aversion to evil, any love to be good, it is due to whatever remains of the old faith and the old culture”.

Today, when Indians are getting away from their roots, it is important to keep their feet firmly on the ground and to instill right values in them. In recent past, traditional values have lost their sanctity and developed many distortions because people started following them blindly and in a wrong way. It developed a widespread misunderstanding. Apathy of people towards the value system of Indian society has generated caste-conflicts, feudal oppressions, exploitation of vulnerable sections of society and mass poverty. Only after understanding the rationale behind them, people should follow them systematically.

Traditional value system still gives to the people, a purpose to live for and ideals to be achieved. Blind following quite often leads to practice social customs and practices incorrectly or in a wrong way. Later on, with the passage of time, there develops many deformities into the system and harms the whole of the society. All the principles, rituals or customs of ancient India should not be followed blindly without understanding the logic behind it.

But there are some values and systems, which are still relevant and inspire common men to lead a disciplined life style. After evaluating its worth in the light of present circumstances, people should follow them systematically. Modern times and circumstances have changed completely especially after 1970 with information technology revolution. There were many things which the ancestors did not know like World Wars, nuclear weapons, technological advancements in the areas of media, transport, and communications or in the world of computers.

Education should guide youth to have a clear-cut vision of one’s responsibilities and a balanced approach towards one rights and duties, which is a must for any matured/civilized society. It should lead to positive thinking, which could channelize human efforts in proper direction, make vision broader, thinking flexible, increase openness to information and enhance spirit to work hard. Discipline and productivity are also necessary for a sound system of education.

Modern intelligentsia, who have some faith in traditional values and system welcome the rationality and other good features of Modern education, but wish to remain firmly rooted to Indian Culture.

Reformers and intellectuals have shown their anguish at the declining moral and ethical standards and discipline of the modern society. They try to combat negative forces like deceit, treachery, violence, crimes and degradation of values and make the society a better place to live in. There is enough goodness inside and around every human being. Only people need to channelize their ambitions, desires and energies towards right direction through sound education system.

In the recant past, it is not the principles, but the practices, which went wrong. Today, when Indians are getting away from their roots, nothing is more needed than the constant interpretation of past experiences and present circumstances. Present should be a constant challenge to the opinions of past. A value or a system, which in the light of modern times appears more effective and beneficial, should be replaced by a better one. At the same time, it would be suicidal to sacrifice ancient value systems to an increasing passion for change.

After raising oneself from ignorance, and with a rational and open mind, a person can understand the greatness of the Indian culture and its value system. A knowledgeable and civilized person like a jeweler should spot out gems from amongst worthless pebbles from this ocean of knowledge; pick them up and leave the undesired obsolete elements developed into it with passage of time. In a changing world, nothing can be more disabling than its idolization of past.

As a conclusion it can be said that “education is only a ladder to gather fruits from the tree of knowledge, not the fruit itself.”

September 20, 2014 Posted by | Education and training of civil services | 1 Comment

Role of ‘Education and Training’ in skill development

Introduction

For the sustainable development of nation, “education for all” and employment generating “skill development” are the fundamental requirements.  India has all the basic resources – men (nearly 35% are the youth having some talent or the other), money and material. The only problem is to utilize the three by providing ‘education to all’ and honing their natural talents/skills through proper training. For yielding better results, it is necessary that along with honing professional skills in youth, inculcating discipline and civility  should also be an integral part of education and training scheme.

Need for sound system of education and training – There has been a growing realization, in the recent years, all over the world that both ‘Education and Training’ play a very important role in skill development of youth, which together impart knowledge, shape attitudes, cultivate skills, build work-habits, and thus enable people to meet the challenges of modern times.

Present scenario in 21st century – World-over, almost all the national governments are facing in full blast many problems, especially after the ‘great economic depression’ of 2008. It is the time to make full efforts to improve economic situation, continuous modernization, higher productivity, improvement in the quality of service. In turn, it demands more trained people in all the spheres to increase productivity, and effectiveness and efficiency in service.

Necessity to impart new knowledge and new skills – The more the problems, better equipped should be the people to face the challenges and meet new demands. Not only that new challenges are being faced by the modern governments, knowledge in this space age, is growing faster than ability of individuals to handle it, especially after the info-tech revolution. Therefore, there is a necessity to impart new knowledge and new skills and to inculcate new attitudes in the people through a well-planned and systematic arrangement of education and training. A well-planned sound system of education and training could enable people to contribute to and guide the social changes and development into desired direction and help them to achieve the goals within time and cost parameters.

Issue – Generally people do not understand the distinction between education and training and its impact on work-culture. Education has unfortunately been misunderstood as something formal going to educational institutions schools/colleges for academic or theoretical studies, and acquiring degrees/diplomas/certificates. They expect that it would get them a respectable place in the world of modern callings. In a mindset, where Education is degree-oriented, there are always certain gaps between learning and practical requirement. Without Training these gaps remain unfilled. It is here that training becomes relevant. Therefore it becomes necessary to understand what education and training means?

Education and training, intertwined – Both education and training are intertwined in such a way that without one or the other, it is practically impossible/very difficult to cope with the challenges of modern world. Whereas education helps students to choose and decide their activity, training helps them to improve their performance in it. Education deals mostly with knowledge and understanding, training with understanding and skill. Training prepares to deal with the complexities of real work-life – pressures, limited resources, choices uncertainties and conflicting motives etc.


Role of education and training in skill development –
Thus, education covers the necessity of modifying behaviour, attitudes and beliefs. It develops an understanding about social and economic position and about public affairs in general. Training cultivates skills and build work-habits. It confines itself to the study of job-skills and knowledge related to a person’s immediate functions.

Education

Meaning of education – (‘Neti, Neti’ meaning unending process) Education is a continuous process and is identified with the complete up-bringing of the individual from the childhood. Education/learning never ends. It is a life-long/continuous process for complete upbringing of the individual right from his birth to death. At each and every, an individual learns something. Education is neither for a fixed period nor look only for theoretical or academic pursuits leading towards award of degrees/diplomas and certificates.

A relentless process – It is, indeed, difficult to define education. Education is a relentless process of becoming. It is growth and consciousness. A sound system of education develops the power of concentration, the capacity of attention and observation. It ensures physical, intellectual, emotional and ethical integration of an individual. It can be said that the ultimate aim of education is to establish a just and equitable social order, where every individual shall have opportunities to grow to one’s fullest stature, so that he may be able to contribute his utmost to the social well-being.

Develops mental and moral faculties – The development of the mental and moral faculties, which has a material bearing on the formation of character is the task of education. In its wider sense, it embraces reading, observation, thought and its proper application in real life. `Education’ helps a person to increase knowledge, under-standing and attitude, so they are better adjusted to their surroundings.

Education generates confidence – An educated person is sure of his knowledge and is keen to know more. He/she is able to create new knowledge and transmit it to others; to discriminate between right and wrong, to be honest in his dealings with others. He/she can resist evil and exploitation and work for the establishment of a peaceful, just, healthy and happy social order. He/she has a rational outlook and is able to resolve personal conflicts realistically. He owns responsibility and faces consequences; is bold and upright in the presentation of his views; appreciates other people’s point of views, qualities and virtues; and is fully conscious of his real self and his place in cosmos.

Purpose of education – The purpose of education, is human excellence, improvement in the form of thought and action and full control over one’s objective self. Human excellence needs to be conditioned by the prevailing norms of human behaviour in a particular society and is, therefore, a relative concept. As it is, the term `Education’ aims at increasing knowledge, understanding and attitudes of the candidates, so that they are better adjusted to their environment. It develops mental and moral faculties, which have a material bearing on the formation of character. In its wider sense it embraces reading, observation and thought.

Scope of education – Within its jurisdiction, it embraces the formation of habits, manners and character, and mental and physical aptitude. Education also opens out the world of job-market to students, so that they can choose their occupation/career and mode of living according to their interests, attitude and aptitude. The scope of education is much broader than of training.

Levels of formal education – Formal education is usually imparted –

1. Before entering into job-market and

2.After employment

Before entering into job-market – Before entering into job-market, the main aim of formal education is learning on the basis of study of facts, principles and data. A regular contact between ‘Teachers’ and ‘Students’ is primary, everything else gives way to it. It follows a set pattern and is generally conducted at three levels:

I. Primary education at School Level – School level education gives more importance to character forming. Its main task is of implanting in the minds of young children those values and attitudes that will influence their entire perception of life.

ii. Higher education at Secondary level and at University level – Higher level education at College or University level promotes innovative attitudes and depth of perception. It prepares workers/personnel for different occupations be general, technical or professional or medical. The lacunae in formal higher education is that it is academic in nature and teaches students about events, which are remote. The curriculum still remains purely theoretical and away from real life-situation.

Education after entering into a job – Understanding of various aspects of a specific occupation/profession is the chief objective of education after entering into a job. It is based more on “common-sense” approach. It is based on experiences gained, while dealing with the immediate, real, practical and specific needs/problems of different kinds of occupations/professions. Its programs are seldom definite and do not follow any routine. What is learned is usually applied immediately. It moulds and refines the attitudes of students to deal properly with challenges and hazards of real occupational life.

After completing the formal education, people generally enters into the world of work. At this stage, one realizes the value of training –formal or on the job.

Training

Role of training – Training is one of the primary means of building up competence and effectiveness of workers/employees all over the world. It provides participants with broad understanding of various facets of their respective work. Whether it is a developed nation or an underdeveloped or developing nation, training becomes necessary for action required for achieving desired goals.

Meaning of training – Training is job-specific. It enables people to apply knowledge in their real work life. It is primarily concerned with preparing the people for certain lines of action, which are delineated by technology and by the occupation, in which he engaged. It is an approach to improve the output – quantitatively and qualitatively. It is a process, by which the attitudes, skills and abilities of trainees to perform specific jobs are increased. It hones natural talents of the people and prepares them to skills, which they do not possess, but are necessary for doing their jobs efficiently, of which they are a part.

Training, a self-generating action – There was a time when force was used for getting a job done or for a change, but effect of ‘force’ is short-lived. It is only training, which can lead to sustained, self-generating action. Capacity-building through training promises inculcating that expertise which is essential for using modern technologies properly. It is essential for economic development as well. It inculcates flexibility in action through understanding and confidence, inventiveness, initiative and ability to make decisions and also respect for the contributions of others and readiness for collaboration with others.

Objectives of training – There are different and specific objectives for different occupations and organizations at different levels. In any profession, training at initial level cultivates skills for specific jobs. At middle and senior levels stress is on human development. Obviously, development of the human resources at this level would require cultivation of the mind; cultivation of the heart to enable trainees to acquire adequate social sensitivities and appropriate patriotic zeal and public spiritedness; and the cultivation of right attitudes and behaviour patterns towards the job, toward the seniors, towards the juniors and ultimately towards the people at large. At higher level personnel need to be trained in the art of rational and quick decision making.

There is a general consensus on the following aims of training –

  • To produce employees, whose precision and clarity in the transaction of business can be taken for granted.
  • To attune employees for the tasks, they are called upon to perform in this fast-changing modern world. It constantly and boldly adjusts their outlook and methods to the new needs of the new times.
  • Not to allow workers to fall into the trap of becoming mechanized. A new entrant, from the start, is made aware of the relation of his work to the service rendered by profession/occupation to the community. The capacity to see what he is doing is a wider setting makes the work not only valuable to his organization but more stimulating to himself.
  • To direct, not only for enabling an individual to perform the current work more efficiently, but also equipping him for other duties and appropriately develop his capacity for higher work and greater responsibility.
  • To develop and maintain morale of workers to offset the dull monotony of routine work.
  • To inculcate right attitude towards others occupations.

Training at higher level needs to focused, additionally, on:

 • Improving the capacity of making correct judgements and take timely decisions;
• Increasing the willingness and ability to accept responsibility, to delegate authority and to develop subordinates;
• Developing an appreciation of the value of time and efforts of others;
• Developing a concept of personal integrity and public responsibility.

Informal training – Informal training (on the job) is learning on the job. It has been the traditional method of training for the workers engaged in different occupations. Earlier it was considered that any worker in any occupation, having common-sense, sense of judgement, attitude and aptitude for that particular work can understand the essentials, tricks and trade and responsibilities of the profession well to do the job well. Therefore,  informal training was the way to train workers/professionals for any work.
• Learn from their mistakes – Informal training as has been said earlier, is training individuals on-job so that they could learn from one’s own mistakes, and acquires required skill through practice. It is a continuing process running through the entire career span of an individual. There are no set procedures for informal training. It automatically comes out of day today relationships between an employee and his colleagues in horizontal formation, between an employee and his juniors in downward vertical formation and between an employee and his seniors in upward vertical formation at meetings of professional associates or reading and study that a person does on his own initiative or at his superior’s suggestion.
• Responsibility of seniors – Since such a training is not backed by compulsion, but is more or less self-inspired, motivation is necessary. Besides, the ultimate success of informal or on-the-job training depends upon the interest, experience, sincerity, knowledge, skills and attitudes of the co-workers, especially seniors.
• Seniors to spare time to train new-comers – It is necessary in the interest of a profession/occupation that its seniors find out some time to devote on youth working under them, so that the later can achieve something from the experiences of their seniors. If seniors are not able to guide and train their juniors properly, due to one reason or the other, very little positive results can be achieved. It, however, should not lead to the situation of “spoon-feeding”. It should be a judicious mixture of self-observation and guidance by seniors.
In modern times, complete reliance on on-job training not desirable – Complete reliance on on-the-job training – a training by trial and error, alone is neither possible nor desirable. In the present space age, when knowledge is growing faster than one’s ability to handle it, it can perpetuate outmoded methods of work, generate resistance to change and reform. Therefore, a well organized system of formal training becomes necessary.
Formal Training – Formal training aims at inculcating skills by well-defined courses at proper stages in one’s career as also updating the stock of initial skills or knowledge. Formal training can be divided into following groups –
a. Pre-entry training- :- The purpose of pre-entry training is to prepare trainees for different kinds of work in general, as requirement of various organizations dealing with same profession vary widely. Education given in vocational/professional institutions may be called as pre-entry training. Pre-entry training is available for professionals as Engineers doctors, managers, accountants, lawyers, etc.
b. Orientation or foundation training: Foundation training program equips a new recruit with conceptual, technical and human relation skills as applied to the organization, he joins. In any occupation, where pre-entry training facility is not available, foundation training program becomes necessary to orient and model the new recruits. Foundation training also brings the professionals, drawn from heterogeneous segments of society with divergent educational and cultural backgrounds, together in present scenario. Foundational training program may range in duration from a few weeks to a couple of years. Some of the main objectives of foundation training could be:
– To acquaint the new recruit with the people, with whom he has to work, and the atmosphere, in which he has to work. It helps him to know the rules, regulations, privileges, hour of work, leave, pay-days etc., within a short period;
– To familiarize him quickly with some of the history and general objectives of his organization and its relation to the rest of the departments/Ministry;
– To prepare and make available to the new recruits list of materials and references that he needs to become familiar with the job;
– To explain the new employee the organizational set-up of his work-place, with its lines of authority, so that he may know to whom he is to report, from whom he is to take directions and the limits of his responsibilities;
– To help the new entrant to analyze his position, the analysis should include a list of various duties of the position, why each is important, how to do it and some measure to know how well it has been done;
– To develop in the employee the habit of taking his requests for information, his problems and difficulties to his seniors/more experienced persons for solutions.
In-service Training or training while on job:- To take over the training tasks initiated by foundational training and to fill in the gaps inherent in the informal process of on-the-job training, in-service training comes into the picture. In-service training is a development of a very recent origin as against foundation training, which has been around for a longer time. In government, training has come to be greatly valued in recent years because of the growing awareness that developing countries need to improve their administrative capability in order to achieve their national developmental objectives.
Difference between foundation and in-service training – Though both kinds of training aim, broadly, to achieve improvements in the quality of working, the difference between them are striking. Foundation training aims to introduce the new entrant in the profession about the working environment of their occupation and prepares them for responsibilities, they are to shoulder in the coming years. The aim of in-service training is to give to the persons already in world of jobs exposure to new developments in relevant fields, so that they are able to cope with the changes in the world of work. Basic subjects and fundamentals of work are the main course content of the foundation training, whereas it becomes more specialized in in-service training, as participants have acquired work experience.
In today’s environment, the pace of change has accelerated tremendously. Knowledge acquired through training at the starting point in career would be inadequate to deal with the present situation, which is constantly in a state of flux. Also, Foundation training occurs only once at the beginning of the career. In-service training may occur at several points during one’s career. It may not even occur at all in one’s career. It has been felt that training can-not remain a one shot affair. One need exposure to training at several points during one’s career.
In-service training to fill the `gap’ between the “required” – In=service training programs are essentially designed to fill the `gap’ between the “required” and the “available” performance levels in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes and habits. It either enables the civil servants to perform their “existing” duties and functions effectively or prepares them to assure responsibilities on promotions to higher positions competently. It becomes necessary for the new job responsibilities to be created in response to the organizational functional or technological changes.
Role of in-service training – In-service training provides one way, in which the organization can assist the individual employee to develop his abilities. The need for training after entering into job-market service is particularly apparent in the present scenario. New skills and orientations needs to be constantly acquired by the employees for the rapid introduction of new programs, the utilization of new technology and changing the environment, where they work for better future. The importance of training programs goes even beyond the need for specialized skills or information on new policies. Through training employees develop awareness about the expectations of the people, government or their respective organization from them.
Difference between the methods of foundation and in-service training – The teaching methods of foundation training are same as those in use in universities, colleges with minor modifications (attachments, visits etc.). Methods used for in-service training are participative, inviting more involvement of the trainees in the learning process through discussions etc. Participation is obligatory in the case of foundation training, whereas in the case of in-service training participants have a choice. Groups of large number are fairly common on foundation training, whereas it is limited purposely in in-service training.
Shorter duration of in-service training – The duration of foundation course is usually long. In the case of in-service training it is necessarily of a shorter duration.
In-service training is concept-based or technique-based – In-service training is an opportunity for formal training provided at appropriate time intervals in appropriate areas, either concept based or technique based. It provides the basic input for raising levels of performance and efficiency in administration and for improving its health and culture. It is a systematic process, designed to help the participants to develop professional knowledge, job-oriented skills and the desired attitudes to enable them to function efficiently and effectively thereby fulfilling the organization’s goals and objectives.
A tough job – The main objective of the in-service training is to replace old unproductive habits by productive ones. The risk of training already on job people is much more complex difficult than that of training new entrants. New entrants are not conversant with the situation and do not possess any experience with regard to the functioning of government. Hence whatever instructions are given to them are taken for granted. It is a kind of intrusion into an existing pattern of behaviour or belief. This creates resistance to change. With a view to making in-service training effective, it is essential to “unlearn” old habits, which are to be replaced by new ones. This is only possible, if trainees are exposed to new learning in such a way that it does not create much ambivalence between previous habits and the new ones desired.
Post-entry training: Post entry training is not directly related to the work of the trainee, but it ultimately helps the organization. Continuing education and training is a phenomenon recently emerging worldwide. Organizations are encouraging their executives to take study leave to enable them to keep themselves abreast of new or emerging trends in management/administration. The aim of executive learning programs broadens the mental horizons of the top executives and managers and equip them with realistic, practical public policies and leadership education that is relevant to their professional and personal educational goals. It creates a smarter workforce with high rate of technology absorption. It gives them greater scope for growth.
Pre-requisites for making training programs successful – Following are the pre-requisites to make training programs successful –
• Identification of training needs:- Effectiveness of training largely depends on right diagnosis of training needs – a task which calls for patience, objectivity, time and management support. Since the training need are, in the first place, organizational need – an in depth study of organization would be a necessary starting point for solid and sound identification.
• Analyze purpose of training – Pressures for change from within or outside in any organization, may need expansion, adopting new technologies, developing new functions and re-organising existing functions and through a variety of other possible ways. Pressures for change organizational changes, in turn obviously, becomes, in turn the pressure on individuals to change of their mindset and working style. To deal effectively with the impending new jobs and situations, individuals find that they need new knowledge, understanding and skills, which perhaps can be acquired through training alone.
• How to identify training needs? :- The analysis of training needs can be done organization/occupation-wise, individual-wise, category-wise, level-wise or function-wise. The two techniques commonly used in job-analysis are –
– Job-observation and
– Interviewing.
For proper identification of training needs one has to study the organization in terms of its objectives, policies, functions and method of work and to look into the cases and causes of delays, errors, mistakes, the method and channels of communication, to analyze the behaviour of personnel within the organization; to look into plans for expansion or reorganization or changes contemplated for future.
In doing so, due attention demands to analyze the `felt’ needs, the `perceived’ needs and even the `induced’ needs. The performance gaps, at different levels of workers/personnel have to be clearly identified. It is also essential to determine the critical stages `when’, `how’, `how long’ and `where’ the training should be given. These are not easy questions to answer, as due attention has to be paid to requirements of `personal excellence’ as well as `organizational effectiveness’.
• Identification of learning objectives: For making training successful, it is necessary to establish proper learning objectives in respect of each category or level of officials to be trained. A proper identification of training needs makes the task easy. The learning objectives should be specific, measurable and testable, to be purposeful. For this purpose, one must be very clear about the nature, the form and the extent of change intended to be stimulated, induced or effected in the individual behaviour, the work systems and the organizational effectiveness. There are four possibilities open for a training institution to match its training goals with the organizational needs:
o The institution can publicize its training goals and the training strategies it prefers and its competence to use, to enable organizations and individuals to take advantage of such training facilities.
o To design tailor made training programs by meeting senior persons of the organizations intended to be served. It shows clearly the institutions’ interest in working closely with the organizations, whose need it expects to meet.
o Training institutions can acquire detailed information about the changes in the jobs for which the organization wishes to prepare itself through training. If the requirements are general and call for a series of programs, it can help the organization to work out a comprehensive training plan ahead of time.
o There is final advanced relationship, in which the institution and the organization are in full collaboration, full-fledged, played-in partners in an enterprise of importance to both of them.
Once the training needs are established and the objectives of the program becomes clear, the actual phase of as how to conduct the program starts. This calls for various activities, such as management of training itself and management of human and financial resources. In designing a training program, stress needs to be on experimental and practical forms of learning, rather than on theoretical academic or routine learning.
A well-designed course will be able to cater to such groups within the limitations of time, and also be able to expose them to all that is relevant in their fields. For the success of training of workers, it requires the use of experimental training techniques and high degree of involvement in the process of learning. The methodology of training should emphasize sharing of experience and trainers should provide the frame-work for meaningful discussion of practical issues and problems.
• Support of seniors: Top level support for training is necessary for the success of the training efforts. The training efforts should adequately be appreciated and supported at senior levels. The support of top-level management is needed at various steps such as while identifying training needs or while designed course content, or while nominating the trainees etc. Without top-level support, training becomes unable to produce the desired results.
• Selection of trainees:- Effectiveness of any training program would largely depend upon the selection of right type of personnel for right type of program. The selection of trainees should be based upon the potential, accomplishments and performance of a person. Priority should be given to those officers, who have demonstrated initiative, enthusiasm and creative effort.
• Evaluation:- Evaluation is a necessary feed-back tool for making successive training program effective. Through evaluation, the results achieved can be compared with objectives laid down by the sponsoring authorities, by the training institutions and by the trainees themselves, and the areas of shortcomings, pitfalls, bottlenecks can be isolated for remedial measures.
Winding up
It can be concluded that‘Education and Training’ play a very important role in skill development of youth, which together impart knowledge, shape attitudes, cultivate skills, build work-habits, and thus enable people to meet the challenges of modern times.Sound education and training can do much to improve the capability of youth and thus lead to faster economic growth and social change. Education and training of an official is not entirely a responsibility of the Government. Every person by himself should try to seek the opportunities to advance his knowledge and educational qualifications. At the same time government should be liberal in providing enough/proper opportunities to educate and train all its youth.

August 17, 2014 Posted by | Education and training of civil services | | 4 Comments

Education in India – ‘Ancient’ and ‘Modern’

’Neti’, ’Neti’ – meaning “learning is a never-ending process and the sources of knowledge are countless.” And “A little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that is inactive. … Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.” Khalil Gibran Issue In India, illiteracy of a large number of people has turned the visions of ‘Education for All’ into empty dreams. Especially, population explosion has put a heavy pressure on its available infra-structure. According to 2011 census, literacy-rate has gone only up to 74% from 65%. For males it has risen to 82% from 75%, for females to 65% from 54%. About 20% of its population is still illiterate. In absolute number, the figure of illiterates is alarming. No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled. Education and the masses In ancient India, education was confined within a very small section of Indian society. It was not so much because of discrimination that a large number of common people were debarred or denied access to education, as it was due to the following reasons – • Method to educate – In the past, because of the method of education, education remained confined within a very small section of the society. In absence of any written material, priestly schools in India had devised a most remarkable and effective system of transferring knowledge to succeeding generations in form of hymns. They restricted it only to those, who possessed brilliant feats of memory and capability to keep its extreme sanctity. •Use of Symbolic language – Symbolic language was in use to express thoughts, customs and institutions. The purpose was perhaps to make it easier for human mind to remember. It gave everything in the society a sacrament, religious and sacrosanct, but not in a narrow sense. Shiva–Shakti stood for Divine masculine-feminine union, four elements of nature –”Om” stood for the sound of creation, “Trishul” for trinity, “Lotus” for balance, “Venus star” for creativity, “Sacrifice” for an offering to gods, “Purush and prakriti” for ideal man-woman relationship, “Som ras” as a symbol of divine bliss etc. In ‘Upnishads’, Hindu epics and ‘Geeta’, there are many examples of the use of symbolic language. • Modern society has lost the mindset to understand the true meaning of this symbolic language. Some educated persons gave in their self interest gave its lessons an imaginative, mysterious, mystic or divine shape. Such as it is being criticized vehemently by some sections of society saying of ‘Purush-Sukta’ of ‘Veda’ that four parts od ‘Chaturvrna’ have been born from the body of Creative Diety, from his head, arms, thighs and feet. These are symbolic expressions. It expresses a divine reality. Its sense is that ‘Brahmans’ were men of knowledge, ‘Kshatriyas’ the men of power, ‘Vaishyas’ the producer and ‘Shudras’ the service persons supporting the other three. •Neti-Neti – There was infinite scope of development. Nothing was supposed to be final. Neti-Neti was the principle foe quest of knowledge. •Masses remained away from formal education, even when everything was put together in the epics – ‘Vedas’, ‘Smritis’, ’Sutras’, and ‘Upnishads’, because of the medium being Sanskrit. •Masses were busy in their hereditary/traditional occupations. Skills were learnt more on job under the training and guidance of people already on the job/occupation. For attaining more skills or furthering their future prospects masses did not depend on formal education, certificates/degrees/diplomas or on formal centres of education and training i.e. schools/colleges. •The manner, in which hereditary occupational knowledge and skills were transferred, was through practice and experience; not through formal classroom lectures, which often kills originality and verve of people. The system led society to have more production, economic efficiency and specialization in various areas of activities like spinning, weaving, pottery making, bead making, seal making, terra-cotta, handicrafts, brick-laying, metal work etc. •But still, illiterate masses got the benefit of the knowledge of learned Sages and ‘Munies’. On the basis of their scholarly researches and experiences, the sages prescribed certain guidelines in the form of rituals to be followed by common men. Part I Education in Ancient India Education a private concern – Education in ancient India was a private concern. Occasional grants was given from state, private charitable institutions and pupils. The tutor supplemented his income by performing professional duties of the priest. Educational institutions of repute Many travellers among whom most famous are Magasthenes (a Greek ambassador arrived at Patliputra in 302 BC), Fa-hien, Hiuen Tsang and I-Tsang threw much light on Indian values and systems. Holy places like ‘Taxila’, ‘Ayodhya’, ‘Banaras’, ‘Amaravati’, ‘Mathura’,’Nasik’ or ‘Kanchi’ and capitals of kingdoms like ‘Patilputra’, ‘Valabhi’, ‘Ujjayani’ and ‘Padmavati’ were famous centers of education. ‘Valabhi’ in Gujarat and ‘Vikramshila’ in Bihar were famous centers of learning. In south India centers of learning were known as ‘Ghatikas’. Most famous centers of learning were the monastic colleges mostly founded by ‘Budhists’. Students flocked from far off places. Universities in ancient India – Few of most important universities of ancient India were ‘Taxila’ (being the first university of world established in Seventh century B.C.),’Vikramshila’ University and ‘Nalanda’ University (built in 4 A.D). Huan Tsang in his records mentioned the university of ‘Taxila’ to be at par with ‘Nalanda’ and ‘Vikramshila’ Universities. These institutions were considered to be the best Universities of its times in the subcontinent and an honor to ancient Indian educational system. ‘Takshila’ University – ‘Takshila’ University was famous for medical studies. ‘Varanasi’ was famous for religious teachings. In the South, ‘Kanchi’ was famous for its studies while the ‘Vallabhi’ University was no less. There was a galaxy of eminent teachers like ‘Panini’ – a well known Guru of grammer, ‘Kautilya’ – the minister of Chandragupta Maurya and ‘Charaka’ – a medical teacher of repute. Nalanda university – Nalanda was the epitome of such centers. It attracted students not just from India, but also from the entire South Asia. It was an international University. Scholars of different castes, creeds, and races hailing from India, China, Japan, Korea, Java, Sumatra, Tibet, Mongolia and Bokhara came here for higher/advanced studies. The teachers often attracted students from far and wide. It had eight colleges, one of it having four storied building and around 10,000 students and teachers on its roll cards. It was one of the earliest examples of residential cum learning complex. It is a matter of pride for India that Nalanda University reopens nearly 800 years after this premier ancient education institution was destroyed. It has started its first academic session now in September 2014. Technical education – Technical education was usually imparted in the family itself, as most of the professions were hereditary. Sometimes artisans took students as apprentices. Steps to pass on knowledge – Knowledge was passed on orally from one generation to another in ancient India. Education involved three basic processes, one, which included ‘Sravana’ (stage of acquiring knowledge of ‘Shrutis’ by listening). Two, ‘Manana’ (meaning pupils to think, analyse themselves about what they heard, assimilate the lessons taught by their teacher and make their own inferences,) and three ‘Nidhyasana (meaning comprehension of truth and and apply/use it into real life). Method – Students were taught particular texts at home of teacher. It was learnt by rote, enunciation and pronunciation were particularly taken care of. Students were supposed to lead a strictly regulated life. Aims of learning were faith, retention of knowledge, progeny, wealth, longevity and immortality. Besides domestic schools there were specialised agencies, discussions or conferences arranged by the kings. Women freely participated in these conferences. There were Parishads for advanced studies. There were wandering scholars, Chaarakas, who spread education in the country. Education and women Women enjoyed freedom, respect and honour. According to Manu “where women are honoured, the gods rejoice, where they are not respected, all actions become futile.” In ancient India women were given equal right to education and teaching. Women seers like ‘Gayetri’ or ‘Maitreyi’ were prominent participants in educational debates and proceedings of ‘Parishads’ (Assemblies). It was mostly the Brahmins followed by Kshatriyas that received education at the gurukuls, while boys from the lower castes learnt their family trade from their fathers. No bar Individuals from humblest origin were highly educated and were respected in Indian society as great achievers. Vashishtha, the principal of conservative school of Brahmanism, was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute. Vishwamitra, the quintessence of Vedic Brahmanism and maker of Gayatri Mantra, was a Kshatriya. Aitreya, after whom sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman. Balmiki, an untouchable according to present standards and the original author of Ramayana, is highly respected all over India. “An ocean of knowledge in a jar” Ancient Indian philosophy and Vedic literature contained “an ocean of knowledge in a jar.” It was supposed to be a magnificent example of scientific division and orderly arrangement of rules, in a few words, in different branches of human knowledge, covering almost all the aspects of life, be it phonetics, arts, literature, medicine, polity, metrics, law, philosophy, astrology or astronomy. It spoke of everything- on staying healthy, social evils, improving concentration and tenets of behavior, which are relevant even today. ‘Rituals’ The substance of the knowledge, learning and research work of Rishis-Munies (sages and saints) was put in the form of rituals for the benefit of common-men. Certain practices/guidelines were shaped in the form of rituals by intellectuals and prescribed for the benefit of commom- men. These rituals and guidelines inspired people to lead a harmonious and healthy life. Spot out gems With a rational mind, raising it from ignorance, one can understand the greatness of Vedic literature. A knowledgeable person can spot gems from this ocean of knowledge; pick them up and leave like worthless pebbles the undesired, obsolete elements developed into the system with passage of time. Revival of ancient knowledge During second half of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century, Swami Vivekanand, Rama Krishna Mission and Theosophical Society of India tried to familiarize the Western World, too, to the charm and graciousness of the ancient gold mine of knowledge, which had inspired not only Indians, but foreigners as well. Intellectuals from various countries have translated it in their own languages and reinterpreted it for a rational mind. Education during medieval – As India progressed from ancient to medieval, its education system deteriorated. Medieval age It began with Rajput culture and ended with Indo-Muslim contacts. Society was marked as conventional society. The grip of conventionalism weakened the society and led to darkness, corruption, anarchy and failure. Various factors were responsible for the degradation of such an efficient and most ancient education system of the world. Part II Modern education before Independence Modern education system Modern education system was implanted by British rulers. Before the advent of British in India, education system was private one. In 1835, Lord Macauley introduced modern education in India. It was the introduction of Wood’s dispatch of 1854, known as Magna Carta of Indian education that laid the foundation of present system of education and changed the scenario. The main purpose of it was to prepare Indian Clerks for running local administration. Under it the means of school educations were vernacular languages, while the higher education was granted in English only. British government started giving funds to indigenous schools in need of help and slowly some of the schools became government aided. Reasons for introducing modern education Finding it too costly and perhaps practically impossible to import enough Englishmen to man the large and increasing number of subordinate or lower posts in administration, British rulers planned of educating Indians in such a way that they “should through western education get Anglicized in terms of both cultural and intellectual attainments”. Lord Macauley clearly said that, “we must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.” Welcoming modern education The atmosphere was completely ready for Lord Macauley to lay the foundation of modern education in India by 1835. Missionaries and their supporters as well as National leaders, intellectuals and Reformers not only welcomed but exerted pressure on the company to encourage and promote western education in India. Missionaries believed that modern education would lead the people to adopt Christianity. Humanitarians, intellectuals and nationalist leaders considered modern education “the key to the treasures of scientific and democratic thought of the modern West” and the best remedy for social, political and economic ills of the country. Outcome of modern education In 1844 through an Declaration knowledge of English was made compulsory for Government employment. The traditional Indian system of education gradually withered away for the lack of official support. The government made English medium schools very popular. English as Official language alienated the masses from the educated Indians. Because of modern education and new employment opportunities, many traditional occupations became obsolete. In near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, people in India were forced to depend on modern education and Government jobs for their respectful earning. Modernization of occupations and industrialization processes increased role of formal education and training for furthering future prospects of people. The universities at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were started in 1837 and higher education spread rapidly thereafter. For scientific and technical education, only three Medical Colleges one each at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras was established by 1857. There was only one good engineering college at Roorkee. National leaders, intellectuals and reformers Modern education not only produced persons to fill the lower levels of administration, as desired by the rulers, but also produced national leaders, intellectuals and reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dadabhai Naoroji, Ferozeshah Mehta, Gokhale, Gandhi, Jinnah, Ambedkar, Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Moti Lal Nehru, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Patel and many more. They took upon themselves the responsibility to build a modern, open, plural, culturally rich, prosperous and powerful India out of a fragmented, poverty stricken, superstitious, weak, indifferent, backward and inward looking society. In short , they believed that – •Western literature and philosophy would give Indians the understanding of liberal, scientific, democratic and humanitarian ideas thought of Western World. •It would make Indians aware of the real issues hampering the progress of Indian society. •Modern education would improve the life of common men and conquer ignorance, hunger, poverty and disease. •It would open the key to the treasures of Scientific and Democratic thought of Western World. •Principles of Democracy would spread rapidly across the nation and finish imperialism and tyranny. •It would remedy many social, political and economic ills of the nation. Brahmins ahead of others Initially, it was an impoverished group of Brahmin and caste Hindus in search of livelihood, who desire to live with dignity and honor opted for modern education. Gradual displacement from their source of income after decline in financial status of their patrons – Princes and Zamindars, appalling poverty of Brahmins compelled them to opt for modern education. Reason being their poverty, not discrimination Sir Alfred Croft, Director of Public Instruction in Bengal wrote to Rev. J. Johnston in 1881, “We know well that any considerable increase in the fees paid by college students would compel many to withdraw. It seems not to be fully understood… how poor the middle classes that flock to our colleges really are. Half the students live from hand to mouth…. And yet though, far behind in point of wealth, they correspond to, and are in fact the only representative of our professional classes at home, and the pressure on them for the means of subsistence is so great, that they must either be educated or go to wall.” Their poverty gets confirmed by a study done to examine the annual income of the guarantors of 1271 Brahmin Students enrolled at Ferguson College, Pune from 1885 to 1895. According to it, 76% of the Chitpavan Brahmins guarantors belonged to the low or medium income groups. Similarly of the 277 Deshastha Brahmin guarantors, 70% came from low or medium groups. They being natural learners and pursuers of knowledge utilized new type of employment opportunities created with introduction of modern education in 1835. They were quick and far ahead of other communities to grasp almost all the opportunities in these spheres. Their long tradition and undisputed role in the field of knowledge and learning, their intelligence, sincerity and hard work helped them even after independence to secure important places in the modern society. Why masses deprived of modern education Except for a few, masses could not avail the advantage of formal modern education. Relentless effort of missionaries and reformers could educate a very small number of people. Reasons being: •Modern education was very costly and, therefore, unaffordable by the masses. •Masses did not see any immediate use of education. It was more important for them to work and arrange two square meals day. •The emphasis was on English medium education system. Served double purpose Introduction of modern education had served double purpose for the British rulers – they got the credit for the amelioration of the Indian society. But at the same time, through it, they devised a unique method of distribution of power, kept balance of power and prolonged their rule in India by keeping the natives busy in their in-fights. Impact of modern education The second half of the nineteenth century saw the impact of modern education on the minds of Indians as under: – 1.Christian missionaries brainwashed many people especially the poor by preaching and educating them and developed in their minds a complex about the primitiveness of Indian society, influenced them towards the alien culture and then converted them into Christianity. With the help of British rulers, Christian missionaries and religious minded Westerners like William Webberforce or Charles Grant, they succeeded in converting many persons into Christianity. 2.National leaders, social reformers, educated people and intellectuals welcomed rationality and other good features of Modern English education. They also got alarmed at divisive policies of the rulers. It led them to lead the national movement. They understood the real issues hampering the progress of Indian society. These organizations had purely an economic and social thrust. They fought against social evils caused by ignorance, superstitions or irrationality like untouchability and inhuman treatment to women, Sati, Polygamy, child marriage, and many others prevalent at that time. Emphasis was laid on education and science. They criticized the mumbo-jumbo of rituals and superstitions created by some selfish people to entangle the ignorant and poor masses. 3.Reformers got alarmed at the erosion of Indian Culture. Organizations (like Brahma Samaj founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1828) in Bengal, Prarthana Samaj in Maharashtra (1867), Arya Samaj (1875) founded by Swami Dayanand in Northern India, Rama Krishna Mission, Theosophical Society of India (1879), Dev Samaj in Lahore and Servants of India society) interpreted religion rationally and advised people to remain firmly rooted to the Indian Culture and not get swayed away by the glamor and materialism of alien culture. 4.‘Back to Vedas’-Therefore, they organized people, held conferences, published articles and undertook internal reform efforts through Sanskritization. They gave a call for “Back to Vedas” and advised people to set free Hinduism from all degenerate features. It was not the Hindu principles, but the practices, which went wrong. Vivekanand said,’It is we, who are responsible for our degeneration.’ Swami Vivekanand, who founded the Rama Krishna Mission, “Each nation like each individual has a theme in this life, which is its center, the principle note, around which every other note comes to form the harmony. If any nation attempts to throw off its national vitality, the direction, which has become its own through the transmission of centuries, nation dies.” Divisible policies of the rulers Many national leaders and intellectuals got alarmed at the divisible policies of the rulers. They realized the impact of British racial discrimination in the areas of education and jobs and their repressive policies elsewhere. They realized the impact of British racial discrimination. Economic loot, political subjugation, assertion of lordly superiority over the subject on the ground of race, assumption of a haughty exclusiveness, persistent insulting and supercilious behavior towards all Indians, exclusion of Indians from all places of authority and responsibility and denial of their capacity for self-governance united Indians against British rule. The destructive character of repressive policies of British rulers lit the fire and gave birth to national movement. Part III After Independence, After independence, even relentless effort of reformers, government and NGO’S only a small could educate a very small number of people especially from amongst backwards. Masses could not avail the benefit of modern/formal education. It is not so much because of resistance from caste Hindus, as for other reasons. Reasons for not succeeding in ‘educating all’ It is falsely accused and propagated by some intellectuals, leaders, reformers and supporters of Reservation/Affirmative Action Policy that privileged upper castes have taken advantage of modern education to establish or reinforce its traditional dominance. They prevented lower castes from getting educated or promoting their status in modern society. However, as modern history points out, on the contrary, it was mainly impoverished group amongst Brahmin and caste Hindus opting for modern education, who were in search of livelihood,. Impoverished group Impoverished group of caste Hindus looked upon modern education as means to earn their living respectfully. Therefore, when modern education was introduced, they, opted for costly Western Education and devoted their scarce resources on it. Costly nature -General masses have not still availed the benefit of modern education. Reasons for illiteracy of a large number of people are many. Quality education is still very costly for common men and, therefore, unaffordable for masses. Costly nature has tended to make it a monopoly of the richer classes and city dwellers. Population explosion – Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on available. There has been insufficient infrastructure. There is lack of quality education and training systems in government or government aided institutions. Masses do not see any immediate use of education. It still is more important for the poor people to work and arrange two square meals a day. Importance of English language in modern world With the changed scenario due to globalization, liberalization and revolution in Information Technology, English has been accepted internationally as a means of communication. Therefore, learning English language has become necessary to get a space in international world. Education through foreign medium is a difficult task. Earlier English medium had already put undue strain upon the nerves of the Indian students. Alienation of masses The language of majority of people is Hindi. However, stress on English medium education and English language is more than it was before independence. After Hindi, English language is being spoken especially by educated Indians, mostly belonging to upper echelons of the society. Increasing importance of English has alienated further the masses from educated ones. Short-comings of present education system There are some deficiencies in the present Education system, some of which have been inherited from the British. There are many internal as well as external many pressures on the system, because of which quality of education suffers. External pressures – Externally, recent social changes and larger political turmoil have affected adversely the whole atmosphere. Some changes took place in the recent past in the character, role and inter-relationship of the six main constituent of the national elites – the political executive, the legislators, the businessmen, the organized workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats. Narrow loyalties, sectional interests and sub-cultures like – favoritism, nepotism and corruption have fast become an accepted way of life. Result is that communal, regional and caste conflicts and unhealthy competition between different sections for power and pelf are increasing every day. Powerful lobbies desire to have exclusive hold on scarce resources of the nation. Few persons and groups, who have the power in their hands and who control almost every walk of national life are working to deny justice to common men. The reflection of all these social evils is found in the educational system as well. Internal pressures – Based on colonized British Grammar School type education has made Indian students crammer, imitators and unfit them for original work and thought. It has not taught them to have pride in their surroundings. The more they get, the farther they are removed from their surroundings and at the end of their education, they become estranged from their surroundings. They are loosing their natural character, because they are getting away from their traditional aspirations and values in preference to the western materialism. Alienation of modern generations from their roots and culture alarmed Gandhiji and he said, “My real education began after I had forgotten all that I had learned at School”. Erosion of Indian culture – Modern education has disassociating Indian people from their traditional way of learning, classical roots and knowledge. With it have faded Indian values, philosophies and traditions, which had taught Indians the spirit of tolerance and firm belief in the principle, ‘Live and let live’ has always been the part of Indian ethos. Indians believe in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – the whole world is one family. C. Rajgopalachari had said, “If there is honesty in India today, any hospitality, any charity— any aversion to evil, any love to be good, it is due to whatever remains of the old faith and the old culture”. Tolerance, truth, Ahimsa, peace and non-aggression are the hallmark of Indian culture. What should be the limit of tolerance – The people in India endure injustice and unfairness until they are pushed right upto the wall. Many times in the past, Indians had accepted oppression and exploitation without much protest, while such situations would have led to bloody revolutions elsewhere in the world. Even today, the people are tolerating the corruption, scams, scandals and criminal activities developed in political sphere, as well as inefficiency seeped deeply in administration without much protest. People needs to be taught not to tolerate injustice and raise their voice against it peacefully. Influence of West Present education system has given rise to a group of Indian intelligentsia which is influenced in a big way by social, political, economic norms of western world and their way of living. It vehemently denounce culture, character and social value system of India. It regards the culture of the land as indefensible, responsible for creating many discriminatory social values. The number of such people is increasing. The more its number of such persons grows, especially amongst Indian intelligentsia, the more intolerant, people would become. Influence on modern youth A drastic change is visible in the values, behavior and etiquette of a new educated neo- rich youth of elitist class, which has emerged especially in Metros. Their life style and value system are being gradually replaced by the Western ones. They want to enjoy pleasures of modern life at any cost without any restriction. They are more conscious of their rights and want to enjoy life fully in any possible way without any bondage. They do not like any restriction/comment on their behavior or way of life. Loosening grip of social bondage and observances have made many of them selfish, self-willed and arrogant. Some of them have become so intolerant and aggressive, that they out-rightly discard all social norms and etiquette. Their thinking and value systems are quite different from the older ones. Most of them generally regard Indian value system as rubbish and its epics as irrelevant. They set their own rules. Their yardstick of smartness is interest in stock exchanges, glamor, pubs, parties, discos or late night culture, which gives rise to many kinds of social problems. With growing cult of materialism and consumerism, finer values of life are disappearing fast. Lust for material gains, comforts, craze for luxurious and glamorous life style has made them so insensitive that they hardly feel anything about the hardships and agonies of the ‘have-nots’. Friendship/relationship prospers only if these cost-effective. Otherwise people do not hesitate in showing their helplessness due to lack of time or energy. The persons, who readily help people in need are considered fools in modern society. Objective of education? Gaining mere knowledge is not the purpose of learning. As Khalil Gibran has said, a little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that is inactive. Also, one whose knowledge is confined to books can not use his knowledge wealth when the need for them arises. Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action. Pursuit of material success is super-most objective in the minds of young students. It is making them more and more selfish and intolerant to others. They are drifting almost rudderless without sense of direction. Academic background, career and good earning is important in life for happiness and satisfaction, but more important is living a quality of life, humanity, compassion and self discipline for enjoying life fully. Once more, India has to be made a hub of knowledge creation. It will be a big blunder, if it fails to do it now. India’s massive human resource needs to be cultivated through sound system of education and training to get out of the rut of mediocrity. The system of education and learning should be such that it could the faculties of human beings ‘in proper manner towards proper objectives, channelize the desires and energies of Indian people towards proper objectives and right activities. Discipline and productivity are necessary for education. Winding Up Amalgamate Indian Culture with western Mechanism Eastern part of the world surpasses the West by no small measure on issues of culture-starting from Egypt and moving eastward through Mesopotamia, Indian sub-continent, China and south east Asia. Indian culture has kept, thousands of years old XYZ alive, despite hit after hit on our successive generations from outsiders. When it comes to advancement in knowledge and science it is the west that has led the world. Looking at the mechanism of expansionism and spreading out, the west has always had the upper hand. Otherwise how could a nation of a handful travel the world over and thrust its imperialism on it. A segment of this group, by sheer hard work and patience, threw the imperial mechanism overboard and built up a nation, living in which is a dream of every young person. In short, the above discussion throws up following important issues – 1.Importance of knowledge in education can not be denied. Purpose of education has unfortunately been misunderstood to mean acquiring as much academic knowledge as possible, leading towards award of degrees. But equally important is inculcating skills in all the vocations according to aptitude of different individuals through practical training for overall development of nation. Training in different vocations should be given when minds of individuals are still in formative stage. Training becomes necessary for applying knowledge in real life. 2.There is no doubt that modern education has given to India the key to the treasures of scientific and modern democratic thought. It is the west that has led the world in advancement in technology and science. It opened up the doors for liberal and rational thinking. It widened the mental horizons of Indian intelligentsia during nineteenth century. However, somewhere it got derailed and now the system of education at all the stages, from preliminary through secondary right up-to the college stage makes mind just a store-house of knowledge and discourages creative thinking. 3.India surpasses the west by no small measure on issues of culture. It is one of the oldest living culture in the whole world, despite hit after hit on it in the past during alien rule. 4.For building an ideal structure for education, an amalgamation of eastern culture and western methods, liberal thinking and advancement in science and technology of the West would be the best for future generations. would be the best. 5.The world is now a global village. Thanks to revolution in areas of information, communications technology and travel apparatus. It will be good if the forces of both – culture and systems – could be combined and a charter of an ideal education blueprint could be evolved for future generations.. Why not we combine the forces of both these, Culture and Mechanics, and evolve a charter of an ideal education blueprint for our future generations. Technology advances have brought us to a stage where every concept is an option! Why not cash upon it.                                                                                                       Education remained confined within a very small section of the society. In absence of any written material, priestly schools in India had devised a most remarkable and effective system of transferring knowledge to succeeding generations in form of hymns. They restricted it only to those, who possessed brilliant feats of memory and capability to keep its extreme sanctity. Masses remained away from formal education, even when everything was put together in the epics – ‘Vedas’, ‘Smritis’, ’Sutras’, and ‘Upnishads’, because of the medium being Sanskrit. Masses were busy in their hereditary/traditional occupations. Skills were learnt more on job under the training and guidance of people already on the job/occupation. For attaining more skills or furthering their future prospects masses did not depend on formal education, certificates/degrees/diplomas or on formal centres of education and training i.e. schools/colleges. The manner, in which hereditary occupational knowledge and skills were transferred, was through practice and experience; not through formal classroom lectures, which often kills originality and verve of people. The system led society to have more production, economic efficiency and specialization in various areas of activities like spinning, weaving, pottery making, bead making, seal making, terra-cotta, handicrafts, brick-laying, metal work etc. But still, illiterate masses got the benefit of the knowledge of learned sages and munies. On the basis of their scholarly researches and experiences, the sages prescribed certain guidelines in the form of rituals to be followed by common men. Part I Education in Ancient India Steps Knowledge was passed on orally from one generation to another in ancient India. Education involved three basic processes, one, which included ‘Sravana’ (stage of acquiring knowledge of ‘Shrutis’ by listening). Two, ‘Manana’ (meaning pupils to think, analyse themselves about what they heard, assimilate the lessons taught by their teacher and make their own inferences,) and three ‘Nidhyasana (meaning comprehension of truth and and  apply/use it into real life). Education and women In ancient India women were given equal right to education and teaching. Women seers like ‘Gayetri’ or ‘Maitreyi’ were prominent participants in educational debates and proceedings of ‘Parishads’ (Assemblies). It was mostly the Brahmins followed by Kshatriyas that received education at the gurukuls, while boys from the lower castes learnt their family trade from their fathers. Educational institutions of repute Few of most important universities of ancient India were Taxila (being the first university of world established in Seventh century B.C.), Vikramshila University and Nalanda University (built in 4 A.D). Huan Tsang in his records mentioned the university of Taxila to be at par with Nalanda and Vikramshila Universities.These institutions were considered to be the best Universities of its times in the subcontinent and an honour to ancient Indian educational system. Takshila University was famous for medical studies. Varanasi was famous for religious teachings. In the South, Kanchi was famous for its studies while the Vallabhi University was no less. There was a galaxy of eminent teachers like Panini- well known grammerian, Kautilya- the minister of Chandragupta Maurya and Charaka – a medical teacher of repute. Nalanda university – Nalanda was supposed to be the highest learning centre not just for India, but also for the entire South Asia. Students from foreign countries like China, Japan, Korea used to come here for higher studies. It had eight colleges, one of it having four storied building and around 10,000 students and teachers on its roll cards. It was one of the earliest examples of residential cum learning complex. No bar Individuals from humblest origin were highly educated and were respected in Indian society as great achievers. Vashishtha, the principal of conservative school of Brahmanism, was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute. Vishwamitra, the quintessence of Vedic Brahmanism and maker of Gayatri Mantra, was a Kshatriya. Aitreya, after whom sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman. Balmiki, an untouchable according to present standards and the original author of Ramayana, is highly respected all over India. “An ocean of knowledge in a jar” Ancient Indian philosophy and Vedic literature contained “an ocean of knowledge in a jar.” It was supposed to be a magnificent example of scientific division and orderly arrangement of rules, in a few words, in different branches of human knowledge, covering almost all the aspects of life, be it phonetics, arts, literature, medicine, polity, metrics, law, philosophy, astrology or astronomy. It spoke of everything- on staying healthy, social evils, improving concentration and tenets of behavior, which are relevant even today. ‘Rituals’ The substance of the knowlegde, learning and research work of Rishis-Munis (sages and saints) was put in the form of rituals for the benefit of common-men. Certain practices/guidelines were shaped in the form of rituals by intellectuals and prescribed for the benefit of commom men. These rituals and guidelines inspired people to lead a harmonious and healthy life. Spot out gems With a rational mind, raising it from ignorance, one can understand the greatness of Vedic literature. A knowledgeable person can spot gems from this ocean of knowledge; pick them up and leave like worthless pebbles the undesired, obsolete elements developed into the system with passage of time. Revival of ancient knowledge During second half of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentith century, Swami Vivekanand, Rama Krishna Mission and Theosophical Society of India tried to familiarize the Western World, too, to the charm and graciousness of the ancient gold mine of knowledge, which had inspired not only Indians, but foreigners as well. Intellectuals from various countries have translated it in their own languages and reinterpreted it for a rational mind. As India progressed from ancient to medieval, its education system deteriorated. Medieval age It began with Rajput culture and ended with Indo-Muslim contacts. Socity was marked as conventional society. The grip of conventionalism weakened the society and led to darkness, corruption, anarchy and failure. Various factors were responsible for the degradation of such an efficient and most ancient education system of the world. Part II Modern education before Independence Modern education system Modern education system was implanted by British rulers. Before the advent of British in India, education system was private one. In 1835, Lord Macauley introduced modern education in India. It was the introduction of Wood’s dispatch of 1854, known as Magna Carta of Indian education that laid the foundation of present system of education and changed the scenario. The main purpose of it was to prepare Indian Clerks for running local administration. Under it the means of school educations were vernacular languages, while the higher education was granted in English only. British government started giving funds to indigenous schools in need of help and slowly some of the schools became government aided. Reasons for introducing modern education Finding it too costly and perhaps practically impossible to import enough Englishmen to man the large and increasing number of subordinate or lower posts in administration, British rulers planned of educating Indians in such a way that they “should through western education get Anglicised in terms of both cultural and intellectual attainments”. Lord Macauley clearly said that, “we must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.” Welcoming modern education The atmosphere was completely ready for Lord Macauley to lay the foundation of modern education in India by 1835. Missionaries and their supporters as well as National leaders, intellectuals and Reformers not only welcomed but exerted pressure on the company to encourage and promote western education in India. Missionaries believed that modern education would lead the people to adopt Christianity. Humanitarians, intellectuals and nationalist leaders considered modern education “the key to the treasures of scientific and democratic thought of the modern West” and the best remedy for social, political and economic ills of the country. Outcome of modern education In 1844 through an Declaration knowledge of English was made compulsory for Government employment. The traditional Indian system of education gradually withered away for the lack of official support. The government made English medium schools very popular. English as Official language alienated the masses from the educated Indians. Because of modern education and new employment opportunities, many traditional occupations became obsolete.In near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, people in India were forced to depend on modern education and Government jobs for their respectful earning. Modernisation of occupations and industrialisation processes increased role of formal education and training for furthering future prospects of people. The universities at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were started in 1837 and higher education spread rapidly thereafter. For scientific and technical education, only three Medical Colleges one each at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras was established by 1857. There was only one good engineering college at Roorkee. National leaders, intellectuals and reformers Modern education not only produced persons to fill the lower levels of administration, as desired by the rulers, but also produced national leaders, intellectuals and reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dadabhai Naoroji, Ferozeshah Mehta, Gokhale, Gandhi, Jinnah, Ambedkar, Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Moti Lal Nehru, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Patel and many more. They took upon themselves the responsibility to build a modern, open, plural, culturally rich, prosperous and powerful India out of a fragmented, poverty stricken, superstitious, weak, indifferent, backward and inward looking society. In short , they believed that – Western literature and philosophy would give Indians the understanding of liberal, scientific, democratic and humanitarian ideas thought of Western World. It would make Indians aware of the real issues hampering the progress of Indian society. Modern education would improve the life of common men and conquer ignorance, hunger, poverty and disease. It would open the key to the treasures of Scientific and Democratic thought of Western World. Principles of Democracy would spread rapidly across the nation and finish imperialism and tyranny. It would remedy many social, political and economic ills of the nation. Brahmins ahead of others Initially, it was an impoverished group of Brahmin and caste Hindus in search of livelihood, who desire to live with dignity and honor opted for modern education. Gradual displacement from their source of income after decline in financial status of their patrons – Princes and Zamindars, appalling poverty of Brahmins compelled them to opt for modern education. Reason being their poverty, not discrimination Sir Alfred Croft, Director of Public Instruction in Bengal wrote to Rev. J. Johnston in 1881, “We know well that any considerable increase in the fees paid by college students would compel many to withdraw. It seems not to be fully understood… how poor the middle classes that flock to our colleges really are. Half the students live from hand to mouth…. And yet though, far behind in point of wealth, they correspond to, and are in fact the only representative of our professional classes at home, and the pressure on them for the means of subsistence is so great, that they must either be educated or go to wall.” Their poverty gets confirmed by a study done to examine the annual income of the guarantors of 1271 Brahmin Students enrolled at Ferguson College, Pune from 1885 to 1895. According to it, 76% of the Chitpavan Brahmins guarantors belonged to the low or medium income groups. Similarly of the 277 Deshastha Brahmin guarantors, 70% came from low or medium groups. They being natural learners and pursuers of knowledge utilized new type of employment opportunities created with introduction of modern education in 1835. They were quick and far ahead of other communities to grasp almost all the opportunities in these spheres. Their long tradition and undisputed role in the field of knowledge and learning, their intelligence, sincerity and hard work helped them even after independence to secure important places in the modern society. Why masses deprived of modern education Except for a few, masses could not avail the advantage of formal modern education. Relentless effort of missionaries and reformers could educate a very small number of people. Reasons being: Modern education was very costly and, therefore, unaffordable by the masses. Masses did not see any immediate use of education. It was more important for them to work and arrange two square meals day. The emphasis was on English medium education system. Served double purpose Introduction of modern education had served adouble purpose for the British rulers – they got the credit for the amelioration of the Indian society. But at the same time, through it, they devised a unique method of distribution of power, kept balance of power and prolonged their rule in India by keeping the natives busy in their in-fights. Impact of modern education The second half of the nineteenth century saw the impact of modern education on the minds of Indians as under: – Christian missionaries brainwashed many people especially the poor by preaching and educating them and developed in their minds a complex about the primitiveness of Indian society, influenced them towards the alien culture and then converted them into Christianity. With the help of British rulers, Christian missionaries and religious minded Westerners like William Webberforce or Charles Grant, they succeeded in converting many persons into Christianity. National leaders, social reformers, educated people and intellectuals welcomed rationality and other good features of Modern English education. They also got alarmed at divisive policies of the rulers. It led them to lead the national movement. They understood the real issues hampering the progress of Indian society. These organizations had purely an economic and social thrust. They fought against social evils caused by ignorance, superstitions or irrationality like untouchability and inhuman treatment to women, Sati, Polygamy, child marriage, and many others prevalent at that time. Emphasis was laid on education and science. They criticized the mumbo-jumbo of rituals and superstitions created by some selfish people to entangle the ignorant and poor masses.  Reformers got alarmed at the erosion of Indian Culture. Organizations (like Brahma Samaj founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1828) in Bengal, Prarthana Samaj in Maharashtra (1867), Arya Samaj (1875) founded by Swami Dayanand in Northern India, Rama Krishna Mission, Theosophical Society of India (1879), Dev Samaj in Lahore and Servants of India society) interpreted religion rationally and advised people to remain firmly rooted to the Indian Culture and not get swayed away by the glamor and materialism of alien culture. ‘Back to Vedas’-Therefore,they organized people, held confrences, published articles and undertook internal reform efforts through Sanskritization. They gave a call for “Back to Vedas” and advised people to set free Hinduism from all degenerate features. It was not the Hindu principles, but the practices, which went wrong. Vivekanand said,’It is we, who are responsible for our degeneration.’ Swami Vivekanand, who founded the Rama Krishna Mission, “Each nation like each individual has a theme in this life, which is its center, the principle note, around which every other note comes to form the harmony. If any nation attempts to throw off its national vitality, the direction, which has become its own through the transmission of centuries, nation dies.” Divisible policies of the rulers Many national leaders and intellectuals got alarmed at the divisible policies of the rulers. They realized the impact of British racial discrimination in the areas of education and jobs and their repressive policies elsewhere. They realized the impact of British racial discrimination. Economic loot, political subjugation, assertion of lordly superiority over the subject on the ground of race, assumption of a haughty exclusiveness, persistent insulting and supercilious behavior towards all Indians, exclusion of Indians from all places of authority and responsibility and denial of their capacity for self-governance united Indians against British rule. The destructive character of repressive policies of British rulers lit the fire and gave birth to national movement. Part III After Independence, After independence, even relentless effort of reformers, government and NGO’S only a small could educate a very small number of people especially from amongst backwards. Masses could not avail the benefit of modern/formal education. It is not so much because of resistance from caste Hindus, as for other reasons. Reasons for not succeeding in ‘educating all’ It is falsely accused and propagated by some intellectuals, leaders, reformers and supporters of Reservation/Affirmative Action Policy that privileged upper castes have taken advantage of modern education to establish or reinforce its traditional dominance. They prevented lower castes from getting educated or promoting their status in modern society. However, as modern history points out, on the contrary, it was mainly impoverished group amongst Brahmin and caste Hindus opting for modern education, who were in search of livelihood,. Impoverished group Impoverished group of caste Hindus looked upon modern education as means to earn their living respectfully. Therefore, when modern education was introduced, they, opted for costly Western Education and devoted their scarce resources on it. Costly nature –General masses have not still availed the benefit of modern education. Reasons for illiteracy of a large number of people are many. Quality education is still very costly for common men and, therefore, unaffordable for masses. Costly nature has tended to make it a monopoly of the richer classes and city dwellers. Population explosion – Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on available. There has been insufficient infrastructure. There is lack of quality education and training systems in government or government aided institutions. Masses do not see any immediate use of education. It still is more important for the poor people to work and arrange two square meals a day. Importance of English language in modern world With the changed scenario due to globalization, liberalisation and revolution in Information Technology, English has been accepted internationally as a means of communication. Therefore, learning English language has become necessary to get a space in international world. Education through foreign medium is a difficult task. Earlier English medium had already put undue strain upon the nerves of the Indian students. Alienation of masses The language of majority of people is Hindi. However, stress on English medium education and English language is more than it was before independence. After Hindi, English language is being spoken especially by educated Indians, mostly belonging to upper echelons of the society. Increasing importance of English has alienated further the masses from educated ones. Short-comings of present education system There are some deficiencies in the present Education system, some of which have been inherited from the British. There are many internal as well as external many pressures on the system, because of which quality of education suffers. External pressures – Externally, recent social changes and larger political turmoil have affected adversely the whole atmosphere. Some changes took place in the recent past in the character, role and inter-relationship of the six main constituent of the national elites – the political executive, the legislators, the businessmen, the organised workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats. Narrow loyalties, sectional interests and sub-cultures like – favouritism, nepotism and corruption have fast become an accepted way of life. Result is that communal, regional and caste conflicts and unhealthy competition between different sections for power and pelf are increasing every day. Powerful lobbies desire to have exclusive hold on scarce resources of the nation. Few persons and groups, who have the power in their hands and who control almost every walk of national life are working to deny justice to common men. The reflection of all these social evils is found in the educational system as well. Internal pressures – Based on colonised British Grammar School type education has made Indian students crammer, imitators and unfit them for original work and thought. It has not taught them to have pride in their surroundings. The more they get, the farther they are removed from their surroundings and at the end of their education, they become estranged from their surroundings. They are loosing their natural character, because they are getting away from their traditional aspirations and values in preference to the western materialism. Alienation of modern generations from their roots and culture alarmed Gandhiji and he said, “My real education began after I had forgotten all that I had learned at School”. Erosion of Indian culture – Modern education has disassociating Indian people from their traditional way of learning, classical roots and knowledge. With it have faded Indian values, philosophies and traditions, which had taught Indians the spirit of tolerance and firm belief in the principle, ‘Live and let live’ has always been the part of Indian ethos. Indians believe in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – the whole world is one family.  C. Rajgopalachari had said, “If there is honesty in India today, any hospitality, any charity— any aversion to evil, any love to be good, it is due to whatever remains of the old faith and the old culture”. Tolerance, truth, Ahimsa, peace and non-aggression are the hallmark of Indian culture.   What should be the limit of tolerance – The people in India endure injustice and unfairness until they are pushed right upto the wall. Many times in the past, Indians had accepted oppression and exploitation without much protest, while such situations would have led to bloody revolutions elsewhere in the world. Even today, the people are tolerating the corruption, scams, scandals and criminal activities developed in political sphere, as well as inefficiency seeped deeply in administration without much protest. People needs to be taught not to tolerate injustice and raise their voice against it peacefully. Influence of West Present education system has given rise to a group of Indian intelligentsia which is influenced in a big way by social, political, economic norms of western world and their way of living. It vehemently denounce culture, character and social value system of India. It regards the culture of the land as indefensible, responsible for creating many discriminatory social values. The number of such people is increasing. The more its number of such persons grows, especially amongst Indian intelligentsia, the more intolerant, people would become. Influence on modern youth A drastic change is visible in the values, behavior and etiquette of a new educated neo- rich youth of elitist class, which has emerged especially in Metros. Their life style and value system are being gradually replaced by the Western ones. They want to enjoy pleasures of modern life at any cost without any restriction. They are more conscious of their rights and want to enjoy life fully in any possible way without any bondage. They do not like any restriction/comment on their behavior or way of life. Loosening grip of social bondage and observances have made many of them selfish, self-willed and arrogant. Some of them have become so intolerant and aggressive, that they out-rightly discard all social norms and etiquette. Their thinking and value systems are quite different from the older ones. Most of them generally regard Indian value system as rubbish and its epics as irrelevant. They set their own rules. Their yardstick of smartness is interest in stock exchanges, glamor, pubs, parties, discos or late night culture, which gives rise to many kinds of social problems. With growing cult of materialism and consumerism, finer values of life are disappearing fast. Lust for material gains, comforts, craze for luxurious and glamorous life style has made them so insensitive that they hardly feel anything about the hardships and agonies of the ‘have-nots’. Friendship/relationship prospers only if these cost-effective. Otherwise people do not hesitate in showing their helplessness due to lack of time or energy. The persons, who readily help people in need are considered fools in modern society. Objective of education? Gaining mere knowledge is not the purpose of learning. As Khalil Gibran has said, a little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that is inactive. Also, one whose knowledge is confined to books can not use his knowledge wealth when the need for them arises. Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action. Pursuit of material success is super-most objective in the minds of young students. It is making them more and more selfish and intolerant to others. They are drifting almost rudderless without sense of direction. Academic background, career and good earning is important in life for happiness and satisfaction, but more important is living a quality of life, humanity, compassion and self discipline for enjoying life fully. Once more, India has to be made a hub of knowledge creation. It will be a big blunder, if it fails to do it now. India’s massive human resource needs to be cultivated through sound system of education and training to get out of the rut of mediocrity. The system of education and learning should be such that it could the faculties of human beings ‘in proper manner towards proper objectives, channelize the desires and energies of Indian people towards proper objectives and right activities. Discipline and productivity are necessary for education. Winding Up Amalgamate Indian Culture with western Mechanism Eastern part of the world surpasses the West by no small measure on issues of culture-starting from Egypt and moving eastward through Mesopotamia, Indian sub-continent, China and south east Asia. Indian culture has kept, thousands of years old XYZ alive, despite hit after hit on our successive generations from outsiders. When it comes to advancement in knowledge and science it is the west that has led the world. Looking at the mechanism of expansionism and spreading out, the west has always had the upper hand. Otherwise how could a nation of a handful travel the world over and thrust its imperialism on it. A segment of this group, by sheer hard work and patience, threw the imperial mechanism overboard and built up a nation, living in which is a dream of every young person. In short, the above discussion throws up following important issues – Importance of knowledge in education can not be denied. Purpose of education has unfortunately been misunderstood to mean acquiring as much academic knowledge as possible, leading towards award of degrees. But equally important is inculcating skills in all the vocations according to aptitude of different individuals through practical training for overall development of nation. Training in different vocations should be given when minds of individuals are still in formative stage. Training becomes necessary for applyng knowledge in real life. There is no doubt that modern education has given to India the key to the treasures of scientific and modern democratic thought. It is the west that has led the world in advancement in technology and science. It opened up the doors for liberal and rational thinking. It widened the mental horizons of Indian intelligentsia during nineteenth century. However, somewhere it got derailed and now the system of education at all the stages, from preliminary through secondary right up-to the college stage makes mind just a store-house of knowledge and discourages creative thinking. India surpasses the west by no small measure on issues of culture. It is one of the oldest living culture in the whole world, despite hit after hit on it in the past during alien rule. For building an ideal structure for education, an amalgamation of eastern culture and western methods, liberal thinking and advancement in science and technology of the West would be the best for future generations. would be the best. The world is now a global village. Thanks to revolution in areas of information, communications technology and travel apparatus. It will be good if the forces of both – culture and systems – could be combined and a charter of an ideal education blueprint could be evolved for future generations.. Why not we combine the forces of both these, Culture and Mechanics, and evolve a charter of an ideal education blueprint for our future generations. Technology advances have brought us to a stage where every concept is an option! Why not cash upon it. 8 Comments » Congrats for a very enlightening article ! Comment by Dr Anoop Swarup | August 4, 2010 <!– @ 4:16 am –>| Edit | Reply This is the best reference I have come across so far. Thank you. Comment by Pragya Dahiya | August 25, 2011 <!– @ 4:35 pm –>| Edit | Reply A very incisive article that paints a large landscape of education in India through the ages, takes a holistic view of learning. Triggers our reflection to the importance of education to life, a learning that must go beyond the confines of occupation and economy. Policy makers and parents must read. Comment by Capt. V Nagarajan | August 6, 2010 <!– @ 3:47 am –>| Edit | Reply A great post and a good view. Right from Independence, India has made a conscious attempt to bridge divides of caste, gender, religion and economic status. Comment by Sanjeev Bolia | September 15, 2010 <!– @ 6:45 pm –>| Edit | Reply post independant pattern of education is not clear. india tried by means of various educational policies to upgrade the educational pattern by following the guidelines and objectives of education for higher education of unesco. within the span of 60 years achived a success story of 75% literacy . in india it is a very difficult task as thousands of years specific community made their rollmodel by restricting education to their community and the great philosophy of ancient education from the ancient universities of nalanda and takshashila was destroyed and burn, what was the duty of khastriyas? quarrel and fighting between brothers and themselve was the only basics they learn in the gurukul shame to such type of specific self monitored gurukul type of education system for thousand of year and not made any progress in the development of bharat Comment by ashok kalkar | November 23, 2010 <!– @ 8:52 am –>| Edit | Reply Wonderful, thanks for sharing! I never knew that “In ancient India women were given the equal right to education and teaching. Women seers like ‘Gayatri’ were prominent participants in educational debates and the proceedings of the ‘Parishads’ (assemblies).” Comment by Sapna Shahani | March 29, 2011 <!– @ 6:51 am –>| Edit | Reply You really know your stuff… Keep up the good work! Comment by facebook poker chips | May 14, 2011 <!– @ 10:42 pm –>| Edit | Reply I had to refresh the page times to view this page for some reason, however, the information here was worth the wait. Comment by facebook poker chips | May 27, 2011 <!– @ 12:28 am –>| Edit | Reply An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post! Comment by make lsd | June 5, 2011 <!– @ 8:42 pm –>| Edit | Reply It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks Comment by make lsd | June 5, 2011 <!– @ 10:37 pm –>| Edit | Reply So nice explaination.id nevers seen such nice comparing. Comment by Garima singh | October 31, 2011 <!– @ 6:09 pm –>| Edit | Reply “Pursuit of material success is super-most objective in the minds of young students. It is making them more and more selfish and intolerant to others. They are drifting almost rudderless without sense of direction. Academic background, career and good earning is important in life for happiness and satisfaction, but more important is living a quality of life, humanity, compassion and self discipline for enjoying life fully.” The above statement is true in all respect. I would like to add some thing to it. In ancient times material values have least respect. Brahmins as you said where from all parts of society and those who learned were involved in form of activity that could make human being a step ahead in mental peace attainment. The concept of spiritual awakening in them is major difference. As spiritual awakening requires skill of patience, humbleness and concentration, which has to be practised constantly and only few could do that. Thats why those few where only Brahmins. The spiritual awakening has gone to trash as the modern education has cropped up. When people are behind material they are losing there satisfaction level limit, which enhances crime. Earlier education was to spread harmony in the society. Now education is to sit on top of wealth and luxuries for self. These two are contradictory in all terms. I know and hope we will again return to our base methods of education. Your speech is gratifying. My english is not so strong, I am very much prolific in hindi, so kindly ignore my mistakes in language. Comment by Abhishek k Upadhyay | November 13, 2011 <!– @ 3:34 pm –>| Edit | Reply Really good info! it helped me alot with my work…so far the best reference i saw!!! Thank you and good job! Comment by rida | February 20, 2012 <!– @ 10:17 am –>| Edit | Reply nice work it is really informative thanq Comment by FREDI | May 10, 2012 <!– @ 2:39 pm –>| Edit | Reply Reblogged this on Latasinha’s Weblog. Comment by latasinha | May 31, 2012 <!– @ 4:42 am –>| Edit | Reply This page is so useful to school children. Comment by Nadeesha | June 21, 2012 <!– @ 12:09 am –>| Edit | Reply very good latasinha…..i enjoyed reading your weblog….u r genius… Comment by airpeacerani | June 21, 2012 <!– @ 4:45 pm –>| Edit | Reply A very nice article indeed, a detailed description of change in our values and ecosystem of education. can i have your mail id or any thing so that i can contact you Lata sinha…..i need some help from you…please give me some of your contact details…my mail id is abhinav036@gmail.com Comment by abhinav | July 9, 2012 <!– @ 10:27 am –>| Edit | Reply      

Latasinha's Weblog

     “A little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that is inactive. … Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Khalil Gibran

Issue

In India, illiteracy of a large number of people has turned the visions of ‘Education for All’ into empty dreams. Especially, population explosion has put a heavy pressure on its available infra-structure. India has the world’s largest population of illiterates. According to 2011 census, literacy-rate has gone only up to 74% from 65%. For males it has risen to 82% from 75%, for females to 65% from 54%. In absolute number, the figure of illiterates is alarming. No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled.

Education and the masses

In ancient India, education was confined within a very small…

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May 31, 2012 Posted by | Education and training of civil services | | 10 Comments

Pattern of Employment in Ancient India and in modern India

Introduction

In every nation, there are few at the top, few at the bottom, and majority at the middle. Every one needs a job to give them a sense of achievement and social well being. The number of job-seekers is huge at the middle, who may be called possessing mediocre capabilities. Education and inculcation of right skills is necessary in modern times to make the masses capable of joining work-force according to their aptitude, with confidence.

India has always been a pool of talents – some having knowledge/learning background, others good in skills. In ancient India, there was work, employment and dignity and honour for all in India. There was no dearth of employment opportunities for persons willing to work. Everybody was usually busy in one’s own hereditary/traditional occupations. Instead of holding others responsible for their unemployment, the system blamed “Adharma” (immoral behavior), “Alasya” (laziness) and “Agyan” (ignorance) for unemployment and all evils like exploitation, poverty and helplessness that follow unemployment automatically.

In modern India, the system of employment has changed. Instead of facilitator, the government has become the generator of employment. The government is supposed to create employment opportunities for the people.

White collared jobs gained popularity. Access to modern occupations, especially white-collared jobs, depends on formal education, certificates/degrees/diplomas. Now people learn and hone their skills in formal centers of education and training. They have to attain certificates/diplomas from formal training centers to get employment or to further their future prospects.

The process of modernization has adversely affected employment prospects of unskilled workers, especially in rural areas. New kinds of occupations are continuously being added to the traditional jobs of pre-industrial-society of earlier days. Many traditional occupations have become obsolete. With it, different kinds of problems are cropping up every day. Once changed, the system never returned to its original form.

Issue

The traditional system of occupations had maintained differentiation between various occupations, which was dependent on attitude and aptitude of people. But, the main feature of traditional system was that it encouraged interdependence  in social matters. The system as a whole had led the society to have more production, economic efficiency and specialization in various areas of activities like spinning, weaving, pottery making, bead making, seal making, terra-cotta, handicrafts, brick-laying, metal work etc.

Different occupations were community based and not individual based. There was not much choice in matter of occupation in traditional system. With the passage of time, the system became too rigid. It put hurdles on the way of creative minds of some individuals, who were not allowed to pursue work of their interest. The rigidity led to heartburn and heart-burn to changes, somewhere rationally, and somewhere it happened in a jest for change.

In modern India, with industrialization and modernization, the pattern of occupations/employment has changed. From community-based, it became individual based. It gave freedom to all to choose any profession of ones own liking.  It led to growing aversion towards the traditional occupations.

Modern system of occupation has generated new kinds of problems. People have been caught within the vicious circle of modernity. They are still moving in circles in an effort to find out a foolproof solution. But it seems very difficult to come out the web of modernity. While trying, they forgot about the simple solutions of the day today problems of common-men.

Government in the role of ‘Provider’

Instead of a facilitator, government has become the provider of everything in a person’s life from birth till death. In its role of a provider, those in positions of power – political or bureaucratic – in the government, have assumed the role of ‘Messiahs’ of  common-men and common-men have become pigmies. For each and everything, they find themselves unable to take even a step further without the blessings or support of those powerful ‘Messiahs’. it corrupted the working style of state authorities.

Then, at individual level, there is confusion in the minds of modern youth as to what career/profession, they should opt. There is shortage of the formal institutions to attain necessary qualifications in India mainly because of population explosion. It has caused lack of opportunities to get education and training in formal institutions and to attain the mindset needed prior to entering into a profession. There is a cut throat competition for each and every job, with the result that unemployment or under-employment is continuously increasing in absolute numbers.

Unique pattern of occupations in ancient India

The traditional occupational pattern of ancient India was unique in many ways.

  • It provided employment, dignity and honor for all. At present, aversion of modern youths from their traditional occupations has today rendered millions of them unemployed or underemployed. Most of the times, they waste their time, energy and efforts in pursuit of those jobs, for which they neither have aptitude nor attitude or which are beyond their reach for one reason or the other. This time they could have utilized otherwise for constructive purposes.
  • Unlike West, there was disassociation between Wealth and knowledge/skills. The systems in India had separated wealth from status, power from authority, pursuit and achievement in knowledge from temptations of worldly comforts.
  • Whereas, in Western societies social status of a person or organization has always been associated with material success or control of power, authority. In India, status of an occupational was determined on the basis of its knowledge, purity, discipline and moral standards.
  • The division of labor and differentiation in occupation was based on certain principles.
  • Each group was an independent entity, having its own hierarchy, based either on a tribal identity or an occupational identity. There was not much disparity between different occupational groups or between urban and rural people.

Principles behind the ancient system

Assignment of work was based on certain realities, principles and way of life. The whole system was based on the principles of ‘Varna, karma and Dharma’. Principle of Varna had assigned duties to different groups according to people’s natural instincts and qualities.   Principles of ‘Dharma’ and ‘Karma’ developed clear-cut vision of rights and duties/responsibilities of each group, considering the requirements of different occupations.

Human actions dependent on attitude and aptitude

It was believed that the whole world of activities was a result of complex intermixing of three basic qualities of human nature – goodness (Satwa), Passion (Rajas) and dullness (Tamas). `Goodness” was associated with purity, peace and knowledge; `Passion” with comfort and action; and `Tamas” with ignorance, sloth, sleep and carelessness.

These qualities determined the tendencies, potentialities, limitations, traits and character of individuals and give them direction for action. It makes individuals different from each other in attitude, aptitude, physical and mental capacity, aspirations, like and dislikes, inclination and expectations.

Principle of Varna – Accordingly, Principle of ‘Varna’ did fourfold division of occupations and their performers – Brahmins were assigned the work of learning, research and development, kshhatriyas the job of defense and maintenance of law and order in the society, Vaishyas of trade and commerce, and Shudras all kinds of service functions.

Principle of Dharma – Principle of Dharma assigned each group a specific work to do and developed a clear-cut vision of rights and duties/responsibility of each group based on its traditional occupation. It boosted morale of the people and promoted social equilibrium and solidarity. There was automatic de-centralization of control systems and authority. The separation of rights and duties combined with the principle of inter-dependence developed its own system of checks and balances over arbitrary use of one’s authority.

Principle of ‘Karma’ – Principle of ‘Karma’ gave stress to duty. Whereas, Western cultures have grown around the idea of `rights” forming the natural foundation of human relationship, systems in India evolved around the concept of “duty, tolerance and sacrifice”. Emphasis on duty usually makes a person or a group humble and tolerant. Sacrifice was regarded far more important than success, and renunciation was regarded as the crowning achievement.

Occupational pattern of India had filled the community with a sense of duty and trained them in obedience. It helped Indians to adjust themselves, without much difficulty, to most drastic changes in the past.

Importance to ‘Self-discipline’, self-direction and ‘Self-effort’

Every group was expected to lead a self restraint and self disciplined life in all respect, be it in the matter of daily routine, occupation or inter-group relationship.

Segmental Ranking

In ancient India, segmental ranking of different groups was done according to relevance and contribution of their occupations to society. Social status of different occupational groups was dependent on their relative self-discipline (relative purity), morality, knowledge and spiritual standards. Considerations of self-discipline, hygiene and cleanliness on the basis of climatic conditions of the region were given importance.

Brahmins, occupying the highest place in the society, were put under maximum restrictions and were denied accumulation of wealth. They were directed to lead a simple life, devoted to the spiritual and intellectual pursuits. There was no hard and fast rule of ranking various groups. Usefulness of a profession to society as a whole, conduct and way of living of different people were the factors to determine social, economic or political status of a group in society vis-a vis others. There were times when gap between Vaishyas and Shudras became narrow or when Shudras acquired a better position in the society.

Ranking system did not put different groups within a framework of hierarchical layers of social order, each fitting neatly below the other, but more or less as a series of vertical parallels. ‘Adharma” (immoral behavior), “Alasya” (laziness) and Agyan (ignorance) were held responsible for evils, exploitation, and miseries of the people.

Discrimination?

The system was so conceived by the genius sages and ‘Munies’ (intelligentsia of ancient India) that there was hardly any room for any Varna to consider itself, as being placed in greater or lesser disadvantageous position with reference to another.

Higher a group, greater were the self-restrictions on its behavior through rituals. Brahmins (intelligentsia) commanded respect of the whole society. They, being at highest place in the society, were put under maximum restrictions. They were supposed to lead a simple life, devoted to the spiritual and intellectual pursuits and denied accumulation of wealth.

The systems of ancient India stopped those in authority to exercise coercion against its working class. It prevented the development of resentment amongst masses for exploitation. Categorization of people as forwards or backwards or as weaker sections and powerful lobbies was almost non-existent at that time.

The systems stopped people from taking law in their own hands. While other nations passed through many bloody revolutions, India kept on adapting itself to changing times. In ancient Greece, Rome or other European countries, people were made to work under the threat of a whip.

System not too rigid

The system was not too rigid as far as pursuing an occupation was concerned. The work in the sectors of agriculture or army was open to all. Members of particular Varna did not exercise monopoly over authority or respect. It is an established fact of Indian History that Brahmin or even Shudras sometimes became the kings. There were times, when inter group marriages took place in the past in order to increase their strength.

HT Colebrooke, one of the early Sanskrit Scholars says, “It may be received as a general maxim that occupation appointed for each tribe is entitled merely to a preference. Every profession, with few exceptions, was open to every description of persons and the discouragement arising from religious prejudices is not greater than what exists in Great Britain from the effects of Municipal and Corporate laws.” (Quoted from ‘Indian Express’, dated 18.9.90, p 8).

In England also it was not uncommon for a clergyman, a lawyer or soldier to educate and train his sons for his own profession. So was it in India. (Quoted fromShore Fredrick John Notes on India Affairs Vol II P.473)

Respect or honor not dependent on birth

Khatriyas and Shudra were accepted and revered as philosophers or spiritual teachers. Great respect had even earned by persons from humblest origin as a right. They had the all opportunity to pursue knowledge and reach up-to the top. For example, Sage Vashishta was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute, but he is highly respected allover India as the principal of the conservative school of Brahmanism. So was ‘Kshatriya’ Vishwamitra, the maker of the Gayatri Mantra, the quintessence of the Vedic Brahmanism, is recited even as of today almost in every house every day and on all auspicious occassions. Aitreya, after whom the sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman.  Balmiki, the original author of Ramayana, was an untouchable according to present standards, but is still highly respected.

Salient features of occupational pattern of the ancient system

Following were the salient features of employment and training in ancient India:-.

Division of labor

All functions needed for the maintenance and growth of the society were divided into different occupations. On the basis of natural endowments, intelligence, aptitudes, attitudes, skills, personal needs and other innate characteristics, each group was assigned a distinct function to perform. Thus the system gave job-satisfaction to almost all individuals except for a few and managed smoothly daily necessities and day to day relation of its members.

Automatic system of checks and balances

Such a system of division of labor developed its own systems of checks and balances over arbitrary use of its authority. Separation of rights and duties combined with the principle of inter dependence provided its own system of checks and balances over arbitrary use of one’s authority. There was an automatic decentralization of authority. These principles together provided the whole society a quality of life.

Interdependence

Local character and semi-autonomous nature of the system made close interaction and cooperation between different groups a reality. Not a single group could claim to be self sufficient, capable to survive alone and fulfill all needs of its people. Still people enjoyed a large measure of freedom in respect of their personal matters. The system as a whole was capable to fulfill all the needs of its people.

Society as a whole had control over its natural resources. All local groups, whether high or low, living in an area mutually depended and supported for fulfilling different kind of needs and cared for each other.

Inter-dependence in social life and self-reliance in personal life were the intrinsic features of ancient system making each local area self-sufficient. Interdependence of different groups made it possible to have close contact amongst the people living in a local area. People whether living in a village or city, were bound together by economic and social ties and had a strong bond of mutual dependence.

It made downward filtration of culture, sophisticated language and knowledge possible.

In modern society, everybody lives in one’s own world, hardly having any interaction with others. There are watertight compartments between different groups living in an area.

Developed a common bond

The system developed a common bond underlying their activities and minds. There was closeness and cooperation within each and every group, engaged in common occupation due to common callings, common problems, and common solutions. It led to accomplish skill, specialization, success and happiness, decentralized authority and resources, made management within each unit effective and organized human and social behavior in tune with the objectives of the society.

More stress on attitude and aptitude than birth

According to “Smritis” it was not birth, but the qualities and deeds of an individual, that fitted him into a particular group of occupation. Later on, upbringing, atmosphere and convenience tended to make these occupational groups hereditary. Gradually different hereditary occupational groups emerged in the society. People found it more economical and convenient to practice one’s own traditional occupation.

Clear vision of its responsibilities

Principles of Dharma and Karma made clear-cut vision of rights and duties of each group, based on and due consideration of the requirements of different occupations. It developed understanding amongst people for their liberties, limits and responsibilities.

All professions worth pursuing

All occupations were supposed to be worth pursuing. Principle of Dharma inspired people to do their jobs well, as all worldly honor and spiritual happiness were vested there. It assured the people that proper performance of one’s work, whether high or humble, whether of a priest, warrior, Shudra or yogi were equally important for the society and were, therefore, right, respectable and worth pursuing.  It brought worldly honor and spiritual happiness for individuals and provided the whole society a quality of life.

Benefit of knowledge to the masses

In ancient India, illiterate masses got the benefit of researches and knowledge of intelligentsia – learned sages and Munies. On the basis of their scholarly researches and experiences, the sages prescribed certain guidelines in the form of rituals to for the benefit of common men and keeping order in the society. In modern times, this job is done by the national governments by enacting laws and making people to follow them.

No confusion, bitterness, rivalry or frustration on matter of work

Each individual and every group served the community in one way or the other and was, therefore, satisfied. All the social groups lived the life of dignity and honor with the feeling that they, too, were contributing something to the society.

All castes including untouchables were assigned important social duties. Harijan women helped all castes at time of child-birth, Harijan males beat drums in front of Hindu’s houses or in front of a procession on auspicious occasions/ceremonies. Village barber spread news, arranged marriages and served food during celebrations. Occasionally non-Brahmins or Harijans served as priests of temples of goddesses like Sita or Kali, where all castes made offerings.

The system saved common-men from confusion or unhealthy competition. It avoided rivalry or bitterness for pelf, power or position amongst different sections of society. There was no confusion, unhealthy rivalry or frustration on matter of work, because every body had his traditional occupation.

Spawning bed for social and technical skills

The manner, in which social, technical and occupational knowledge and skills were transferred and developed, was through practice and experience; not through formal classroom lectures, which often kills originality and verve of people.

The system served as a spawning bed for social and technical skills. By its very nature, it encouraged the development and preservation of local skills. There was a tendency to bring in the most diversified skills to high level of excellence.

Specialization

System as a whole evolved an atmosphere, where a high level of specialization and wisdom in different areas of activities could be achieved. Being constantly in contact with the family occupation, it was natural for the people to learn maximum about their traditional occupations.

Natural training without investment

The system inheritance in matter of assignment of different functions to different groups led the people to learn basic qualifications and tricks of the trade within their families itself from their elders. Skills were learnt more on job under the training and guidance of ‘elders’, already there on various jobs/occupations.

The system transmitted knowledge, expertise, the traits of a trade, intelligence, abilities, experiences, values and skills from one generation to another in a natural way. Chidren, while growing up, learnt about hidden intricacies of a profession and solutions of their occupational problems, informally from their elders. The system as a whole increased the confidence of the workers and saved them from confusion or unhealthy competition.

Reservoir of natural leaders

Don Martindale said that India possessed a reservoir of natural leaders – Brahman naturally trained in literary skills, Kashitryas in art of leadership and different service groups in skills. It was with their sincere efforts that the nation entered into modern era without any cultural break.

Job satisfaction

The system as a whole and total environment of working gave people job satisfaction. It led the society to have more production, economic efficiency and expertise in almost all the areas and activities like spinning, weaving, pottery making, bead making, seal making, terra-cotta, handicrafts, brick-laying, metal work etc.

The system worked so well that when the world was passing through the Dark Age, India was full of light. The first few centuries are recognized as the golden period of Indian history. During this period, arts, commerce, crafts, philosophy and knowledge flourished magnificently.

Many travelers visiting India, from alien lands at different points of time, confirmed that India possessed huge wealth, knowledge, and quality of life. It was a cheerful land. Each person found a niche in the social system. Its people reached a high level of intelligence having specialization in different areas. An average Indian, according to Dr. Albert Swheitzen, Did not find life a vale of tears, from which to escape at all costs, rather he was willing to accept the world, as he finds it and, extract, what happiness he could, from it. Recently U.S. Ambassador John Kenneth Galbrigth remarked, While he had seen poverty in many countries of the world, he found an unusual attribute among the poor of India. There is richness in their poverty. They did not count wealth in money alone.

Change in scenario

With the passage of time, many changes took place especially during 19th and 20th centuries under British rule. Modernization and industrialization process has changed the traditional pattern tremendously.

Modernization and industrialization

Industrial revolution has made many traditional jobs obsolete, less paying, more hazardous or time consuming. Outcome of such a development has been casualty of workers first, afterwards their work style, commitment, motivation and culture. Work culture has changed.

Casualty of workers first, afterwards their work style

Many traditional occupations were discredited. Indian handicrafts and cottage industry were destructed. Efforts, sense of direction and manufacturing skills of millions of artisans, craftsmen and weavers were scattered. Outcome of such a development has been casualty of workers first, afterwards their work style, commitment, motivation and culture. They lost their creativity, sense of achievement and pride.

Majority of them could neither enter into modern sector, nor could stick to their traditional occupations. Very few of them could join modern occupations. In the near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, most of them had no option, but either to join band of agricultural laborers, industrial workers and marginal labor for their survival or increase number of unemployed or under employed.

White collared jobs

White collared jobs gained importance and popularity. Menial work was considered derogatory More a person withdraws from physical labor, more honored, civilized and qualified, he/she is regarded by modern society. The trend of easy and quick money started.

System benefitted “Haves” only

Some young entrepreneurs, having education, money and awareness, did market survey and hijacked many discarded traditional occupations. They modernized such disdained and contemptuous jobs like mechanization of fishing or leather industry and made them profit oriented.

Scenario after Independence

Instead of being a facilitator, governments of ‘socialist’ and ‘Welfare state’ have become provider. Instead of teaching people ‘how to fish’, they believe in ‘giving a fish’. They have taken up responsibility to provide employment to its citizens, which led to centralization of control systems in matter of occupations. It has weakened the traditional system of occupations. The outcome of such development has been neck to neck competition for fewer jobs in the market, especially in organized sector. Rivalry and bitterness for pelf, power or position is continuously increasing.

Less capital-intensive occupations like that of barber or washer-men have been overtaken by educated middle class. They re-christened them as saloon, laundry etc and employed those poor traditional workers, who were earlier practicing such occupations independently.

Total aversion of modern youth from their traditional occupations has today rendered millions of them unemployed or underemployed, thus wasting their time, energy and efforts in pursuit of those jobs, for which they neither have aptitude nor attitude or which are beyond their reach for one reason or the other. This they could have utilized otherwise for constructive purposes.

Stiff competition at present everywhere has pushed millions towards a situation, where they face hardships in getting a satisfactory job for themselves. It has rendered majority of them unemployed or underemployed, who are wasting all their efforts and most energetic and creative time of their lives in constant search for a job. By proper career planning, this valuable time could have utilized for constructive purposes.

Conclusion

Not reject out-rightly family occupation

 Modern youth should not out-rightly reject the option of following traditional professions. Rather, it should be encouraged. The qualities and knowledge inherited due to family background could always be honed further in various training institutions by making youth aware of recent technological developments.

Even in modern world, when there is full freedom to an individual to choose a job of one’s own liking, many smart youngsters prefer to follow their family occupations. And they are doing very well. It has been seen that a Marwari, traditionally belonging to business community, invests his money in share market with more ease and confidence than a graduate from other communities possessing a degree in business management. In 21st century, the trend of following family occupations is increasing continuously in many sectors, like the Film world, legal profession, business world.

 Recent global financial and economic turmoil, India has shown that it has talent for creativity in the face of adversity. It has the capacity to emerge without much difficulty from the crisis.

In a changing world, nothing can be more disabling than its isolation of past. Nothing is more needed than the constant interpretation of what was seen then in terms of what is seen now. Today must be a constant challenge to the opinions, systems and practices of yester times.  Therefore people should not retain a system or outlook, which in the light of modern times  can be replaced by a better form and which could be more effective and beneficial to the people.  At the same time, society must not sacrifice an ancient form or system to an unreasoning passion for change.

Twenty first century India

Modern India has everything a nation needs for development. Total labour-force is about half a million. It is estimated that by 2020, India will have the largest and youngest labour force in the world. Its average age will be less than 30 years.

There is no dearth of talent, intelligence, quality or knowledge in any given area. There is tremendous amount of skilled and unskilled manpower, all kinds of raw materials, a good legal system, a huge market and potential to export virtually everything, provided the cost of its inputs are kept at international levels. India is the 11th largest economy in the world and is 4th largest purchasing power parity.

It is the world’s youngest country and land of entrepreneurship with largest number of self employed. About 52% of Indians are self-employed, about 55% in rural communities and 41% in urban areas. Many of these (about 20%, according to the international labor organization) are at the bottom of pyramid.

Recent global financial and economic turmoil, India has shown that it has talent for creativity in the face of adversity. It has the capacity to emerge without much difficulty from the crisis. Bringing together India’s creativity in entrepreneurship and youthful dynamism could lead to sustained inclusive growth and overcome the recent economic slowdown.

November 22, 2011 Posted by | Education and training of civil services | , , , | 16 Comments

Modern education system and culture of India

        “Culture makes people understand each other better. … But first they have to understand that their neighbor is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.”          Paulo Coelho 

          ” Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organised life.”             Immanuel Kant

           ” I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in the country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indian think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.” Lord Macaulay’s address to the British parliament on 2nd Feb. 1835.

‘Introduction

During British rule in India, in 1834, new modern education system was launched in India, which was based on colonised British Grammar School type education. The traditional Indian system of education had withered away for the lack of official support.

The modern education, since its inception, has influenced the Indian society and its culture in a big way. It has both of constructive and destructive effects on its culture. On one hand, it offered to Indian intelligentsia the key to the treasures of scientific and democratic thoughts of Modern ‘West’, on the other hand, it had disassociated Indian people from their culture, classical roots, knowledge and traditional way of living. Along with it, faded Indian values, philosophies and traditions.

Issues

The issues that arise here are – what ‘Culture’ is? What is the culture of India? When and why the system of education was changed? How has it been affecting the indigenous culture of India? How can Indians remain rooted to their own Culture? How can its culture be further enriched by taking advantages of the wide horizon of knowledge, modern education offers and of the technologies developed in the Western world? And how people in general could be prevented from being swayed away by the glamour and materialism of alien way of life and its culture?

Animal instincts within human being – History of evolution points out that in the beginning, animal instincts within a human were quite prominent. Thomas Hobbes has described that at that time the life of man was “nasty, brutish and short”. Degree of selfishness was at its peak. Only fittest could manage to survive in that hostile environment.

Formation of civilized society – At some point of time, people joined hands and started living together. Human beings made conscientious effort to overcome the animal instincts hidden within them. They developed empathy and the spirit to cooperate and help each other. It was through socializing and development of norms that people learnt, how to live together or how to treat others and others him. That was the beginning of culture/mannerism, which inspired human to form a cultured civil society.

Dictionary meaning of the term ‘culture’– According to dictionary, meaning of the term ‘culture’, it is –

  • an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior of a group that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations,
  • the customary beliefs, social norms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group;
  • The characteristic features of everyday existence (a way of life}.
  • The set of attitudes, values, goals, and practices shared by people in a place or time.

Features that reflect Culture – Culture includes within itself all the following features collectively like

  • Sophisticated language as medium of expression; arts and sciences as forms of human expression;
  • Thinking process as the way, people perceive, interpret, and understand the world around them;
  • social activities;
  • Smooth interaction with others fellow-beings; and
  • Spirituality as a path to salvation of soul,

All these qualities together and way of life transmitted through generations for the welfare of people, expressed through language and actions are included in culture.

United Nation on ‘culture’ – According to United Nation, a culture is a set of values, attitudes, language and ways of life. Whenever layers of culture and civilization are overshadowed, man’s real nature with all its animal instinct is exposed. Everything works well, when people are humane and familiar with the basics of their culture.

Culture leading to refinement – For keeping humans disciplined, every society enforces its own social, ethical, or legal rules. Culture leads to betterment or refinement, whether it is an individual, society or a nation. The more one follows those norms, the more cultured one is.

In short, culture of a society includes within itself knowledge, belief and behavior as well as attitudes values, goals and practices of that society. Culture is the full range of refined human behavior patterns.  It constantly changes. Across different nations all cultures are concerned about values that are humane and universal.

                                  Culture of India

Cultural richness – India presents a fascinating picture of cultural richness, which is mainly based on Vedic literature and philosophy.  Civilization of India is one of the oldest alive civilizations of the world. Because of its tolerance and capacity of internalizing alien influences, its culture has been able to be one of the oldest, continuous and uninterrupted living culture of the world.( The other three being Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece)

Many principles and cultures developed in the past, within India as well as elsewhere in the world, had created such a wave that swept over the entire world for some time. An anti-wave, replacing such waves, emerged soon. It wiped off the previous influence. The Vedic culture and its basic tenets, however, have been proved to be an exception in this regard. It happened due to basic tenets of Vedic culture, which have always been very close to every Indian.

Vedic culture

 The word ‘Vedic’ is derived from the word ‘Vid’ meaning ‘Knowledge’ and signifies’ ‘knowledge par excellence’. The Vedic culture came into being due to intermixing of the culture of Aryan invaders, who came to India in waves, with the culture of indigenous tribal people of India during 2nd century BC to 650 AD.

The Indian culture is identified with the whole of India. To foreigners, it represents the ancient culture in its eternity. It mainly originated and flourished in northern parts of India and later on spread throughout India.

Origin of Vedic culture

The origin of the Vedic knowledge and its culture can not be traced in any single founder; neither can it be confined in one single authoritative text. Its sacred knowledge has been handed down from time immemorial, earlier by verbal transmission and later on, in written form by the ancestor to succeeding generations.

Never ending process (‘Neti’, ‘Neti’) – Vedas teach that creation and quest for knowledge is a constant process, without any beginning or an end. It is a never ending process (‘Neti’, ‘Neti’). The Sages (Rishis and Munies) were believed that even Vedas were not the end for quest for knowledge or prescribes any final absolutes.

Strength of Vedic culture

The strength of Vedic culture is proved by the facts: –

  • Despite centuries of foreign rule over 75% of Indian population remains Hindu.
  • Had it become obsolete, it would have given place to other religions and cultures.
  • It influenced almost all other religions found in India.

Basic tenets of Indian culture

The basic tenets of Indian culture, which kept its continuity intact, despite numerous foreign invasions, migrations and assimilation of various groups, are as following:

Principles of ‘Varna’ ‘Dharma’, ‘Karma’ The foundation pillars of systems of Indian culture were the principles of ‘Varna, karma and Dharma’. Principles of Varna, Dharma and Karma together provided the whole society a quality of life and contributed to its growth.

‘Principle of Varna’ – Doctrine of Varna has given the Indian Society a stable, sustainable social structure. In the past, it had assigned duties to different groups according to their natural endowments, instincts and qualities.

Principle of ‘Karma’ – Knowledge is supposed to be necessary for giving Karma”, its due meaning, direction and value. Ignorance is considered to be leading to futile efforts destroying direction. Doctrine of Karma teaches people to accept their surroundings, as they are and extract as much happiness as possible. Principles of Karma make the inequalities, prevalent a society, tolerable.

Principle of Dharma – Principle of Dharma defines the duties and inspires people to do their jobs well, as all worldly honor and spiritual happiness were vested there. It assures the people that proper performance of one’s work, whether high or humble, whether of a priest, warrior, Shudra or yogi are equally important for the society and were, therefore, right, respectable and worth pursuing.

Sanatan Dharma (Concept of Eternal Values)- Sanatan Dharma (Concept of Eternal Values) nurtured the basic instincts of human beings over nature, after a deep study of natural instincts, inherent attributes and natural behavioral pattern and taking care of the basic physical, mental and spiritual needs of the human beings at different stages of life.

Spirit of Tolerance

Amongst all factors, which contributed to enrich and continuity of India’s culture has been the spirit of tolerance of Indian people.

  • Concedes validity to all the religions -Tolerance is most evident in the field of religion. Hinduism concedes validity to all the religions and does not lay down strictures against any faith or reject any religion or its god as false. That is why, all the twelve major religions of the world are present and flourishing in India without much hindrance. Hindu faith in an all pervading omnipresent god, multiplicity of god and goddesses as representing some portion of the infinite aspect of the Supreme Being, inspires it to accommodate people of all faiths.
  • No conversions – India has adopted the path of assimilation. Its main religion Hinduism does not believe in conversion or imposing its beliefs, practices and customs on others. It has neither repulsed any trend vehemently, nor allowed others to sweep its own established culture off the roots.
  • Truth, Ahimsa, peace and non-aggression – Tolerance is not confined to religion alone. It is seen everywhere in the Indian way of life. Firm belief in the principles, ‘Live and let live’, ‘to each according to his needs and from each according to his capacity’, ‘simple living and high thinking’ and faith in Truth, Ahimsa, peace and non-aggression have always been the part of Indian ethos.
  • Whole world is one family – ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, the whole world is one family Indians is the hallmark of Indian culture. In the past, people endure injustice and unfairness until they are pushed right to the wall. John Fischer mentions, Even during Bengal famine, an extreme situation – when necessity knows no laws, people did not take law in their own hands, nor was there any violence. No grocery stall, no rice warehouse, none of the wealthy clubs or restaurants was ever threatened by a hungry mob… They just died with docility, which to most Americans is the most shocking thing about India.’(John Fischer, India’s insoluble Hunger – 1947)

Positive effect of tolerance

 Many times in the past, Indians had accepted oppression and exploitation without much protest, while such situations would have led to bloody revolutions elsewhere in the world.

Negative effects of tolerance

Even today, the people are tolerating the corruption, scams, scandals and criminal activities developed in political sphere, as well as inefficiency seeped deeply in administration without much protest. Administration is one such area, where tolerance is harmful, as it not only hinders the development, but also pushes the nation backwards.

Effect of these principles on society of ancient India

All these principles together had organized orderly performance of various functions needed to provide a quality of life to its people in the past. It gave them a distinct character, defined roles and organized inter-relationship of various sections of society. It prepared an atmosphere for co-existence of different sections of the society – be it ruler or ruled, be it rich or poor. It served to give Indian society coherence, stability and continuity; and held together different castes and communities having diverse languages and practices for generations – thus making unity in diversity a reality.

Composite Culture of India

The composite culture of India has absorbed the good points of other cultures enriching it further. More than anywhere else in the world, it holds a multitude of thoughts, processes them and practices them. There has been co-existence of varied belief, pattern and thought due to inter-mixing and cultural mingling.

The composite culture of India grew out of: –

  • Growth, influence and refinement of values of different religions generated within land of India.
  • Creative interaction between values of indigenous religions and religions of diverse migrating or foreign communities like Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism etc.

All the sects present in India, whether foreign or indigenous, have been influenced greatly by Vedic culture – its thinking, practices and systems. For a few centuries after the downfall of Hindu’s rule (around 5th-6th centuries), first under the rule of Turks or Muslim, the culture of Islam and their style of living, practices, traditions influenced the Indian society and afterwards Christianity under British rule flourished and dominated the scene allover in India.

Fusion of different cultures

The wonderful process of assimilation and fusion of different cultures has been a continuous process of the India civilization. It contributed to the cultural richness of India. Such flexibility is not seen in the West. When Christianity broke away from Judaism, it departed totally from the common cultural traditions. Therefore, it is very difficult for the Western world to understand and appreciate Indian culture fully.

  • Composite culture of ancient times – Before 6th century, a cultural synthesis took place. In ancient India, the assimilation of various racial, immigrants, locals, tribal, professionals or other groups under its mainstream was done through caste system by assigning each new group a separate caste identity. Assimilation of different social groups was done without imposing on them Hindu value system or annihilating the originality, internal order, customs or language of new groups joining the mainstream. India provided the atmosphere and opportunity the culture of each identity, coming into its fold, to flourish in its own way. A major cultural synthesis took place during 6th and 10th century between Vedic Hindu culture, Buddhism and Dravidian culture between Vedic Hindu culture, Buddhism and Dravidian culture.
  • Composite culture during medieval period – After the downfall of Hindu’s rule, under Turks, Muslim and British rule, Islam and Christianity received substantial state patronage for sufficiently long period. Their cultures flourished and dominated the scene allover in India. It led to another major cultural synthesis. After the 10th century, the thinking of Arabs, Turks and Afghan, mainly guided by reason, influenced Indian thought. As a result, Sufi and Bhakti movements emerged into the scene. These two sects taught the people to love and respect all human beings irrespective of caste or creed. These two sects taught the people to love and respect all human beings irrespective of caste or creed. These also brought changes in the nature of mutual understanding, communal amity and accommodation.
  • Modern times – Once again, during the period of 18th to 20th century, major cultural synthesis took place with modernization and industrialization ushered in by the British.

Survived vicissitudes of time

Culture of India has survived the vicissitudes of time, saved itself by erosion from within and assault from outside only because of the adaptability.

Maintained continuity

The composite culture of India managed to continue despite numerous castes and communities living here for time immemorial; despite numerous foreign invasions, migrations and assimilation of new groups; and despite cultures of Hindus, Islam and Christians receiving substantial state patronage for sufficiently long period at different points of time.

Every time Vedic culture re-emerged 

There were periods during its long period of evolution, when its main Vedic culture had weakened and shaken the confidence of people in Vedic literature and its philosophies, especially under foreign rules. However, every time, it re-emerged and whenever it re-emerged; it did not destroy the culture of other sects, but assimilated their good points within itself.

Major force retain the cultural identity

The composite culture of India acted as a major force for the failure of Islam, Christianity and other religions to make headway in India even after mass conversion. Through it, Hindus could retain their cultural identity, while living under an alien political order, whether it was Turks, Mughal, Portuguese or British.

Vedic literature not only religious books

‘Vedic literature’ is a gold mine of Indian philosophy. The ancient Vedic philosophy and literature are found in Indian scriptures known as ‘Vedas’, ‘Smritis’ ‘Sutras’, and ‘Upanishad’. These scriptures are not only revered scriptures of Hinduism or religious books, but hold in itself a vast reservoir of knowledge and experiences of great Indian scholars called Rishies, who had devoted their life in search of knowledge. It is a perfect guide to the art of living.

  • “Ocean of knowledge in a jar”- According to Basham, these Epics contains “an ocean of knowledge in a jar.” (Wonder, That Was India). Vedic literature is a vast reservoir of knowledge. It presents a magnificent example of scientific division and orderly arrangement of rules, in a few words, in different branches of human knowledge, covering almost all the aspects of life, be it phonetics, arts, literature, medicine, polity, metrics, law, philosophy, astrology or astronomy.
  • Perfect guide to art of livingVedic literature is a perfect guide to art of living. It speaks of everything- on staying healthy, social values, improving concentration and tenets of behavior, which are relevant till today. Its rituals are techniques for leading a harmonious life.
  • Self-restraint and self-discipline – In the past, culture of India had encouraged Indians to adopt a self-restraint and self-disciplined life-style; be in tune with the forces of nature; live harmoniously and peacefully with their fellow beings; practice non-violence in thought, action and speech and not cause pain to anyone including oneself. It advised people to lead a self-disciplined life, to do one’s own work sincerely, not to interfere in other’s work and escape from apathy or indifference. It taught people to be self-observant and try to mend one’s own mannerism rather than telling others behave.
  • Stress on contentment – It has advised to be contented, to be self sufficient and to be satisfied with what one can earn honestly, but not to be greedy, jealous or too competitive; not to hoard or accumulate beyond one’s need; not to steal, beg, borrow or snatch belongings of others with or without their knowledge. According to Hindu philosophy, nature has provided enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for even one person’s greed.
  • No destructive activity – It has advised people not to waste energy or over-indulge oneself in wasteful and destructive activity. People should be honest and willing to help others; observe austerity, simplicity and discipline in life; maintain cleanliness of diet, body and mind. In short, it advised people always to try to rise above the animal instincts hidden inside human-beings.
  • Work is worship – Principle of Karma teaches people that Work is Worship. In modern world, when people are so conscious about ‘blue colored or white colored jobs’ and asserts their rights, pay scant attention to their duties, the faith in ‘Principle of Karma’ can inspires common man to do their duties sincerely. It teaches that any kind of work is worth pursuing and respectable. Any work done in its true spirit could never be derogatory or a waste. They should try for action par excellence. A work should not be valued so much for its external reward, as for the intrinsic satisfaction towards realization of Swadharma.
  • No Revenge or putting blame on others – No human has any control over taking birth in a family of one’s choice. Very few are born with silver spoon in their mouth. Everybody else has to make efforts for a better future. Principle of Karma also offers a convincing explanation for inequality, affluence, poverty and happiness. It prevents people from being revengeful or putting blame on others for their own failures, miseries. Everybody has to face the inexorable consequences of one’s doings. It teaches people that they are not the slaves of circumstances/environment, over which they do not have any control. Principle of Karma teaches common man to keep on making efforts for better future. None of their effort goes waste.
  • Hopes for better tomorrow – Nobody knows ‘when one is going to hook a fish’. Principle of Karma gives hope to people not to get disappointed by their present unfavorable circumstances. One should constantly make efforts to improve situation by performing one’s own duties well. By channelizing efforts, energies and capacities in proper direction and working hard, one can specialize in his specific area of work, strengthen character, improve economic status and contribute in social/national reconstruction.

Education restricted to those, who can keep its sanctity

In ancient India, education was confined to a very small section of Indian society. It was not so much that common people were debarred or denied access to education because of discrimination, as it was because of the method of education. In absence of any written material, priestly schools in India had devised a most remarkable and effective system of transferring knowledge to succeeding generations in form of hymns. They restricted it only to those, who possessed brilliant feats of memory and capability to keep its extreme sanctity. Opening verse of Chapter (IV) says, “I gave this philosophy of (life and action called) Yoga to men of responsibility, so that, through this philosophy, they will become strong to serve and protect the people, to nourish the people.”

Rituals guidelines to lead a harmonious, disciplined and healthy life

The rituals were the techniques to help and guide the masses of all sects of India to lead a harmonious, disciplined and healthy life. Some rules were prescribed to be observed in day to day life to stay healthy, others to live in a hygienically clean atmosphere, live a self-restraint and self- disciplined life and to develop human relationship including the give-and-take of socialization especially during a variety of festivities and life-celebrating events.

Essence of the knowledge and experiences of Intelligentsia – The knowledge and experiences of Intelligentsia of ancient India (Yogis, sages and Munies) benefitted the whole community from top to bottom. The sages of ancient India prescribed certain rules, customs and rituals to be observed by the common men. Through these rituals, masses benefitted by the deep thinking and experiences of sages of many generations; and the vast treasures of Indian philosophy, rational. These rituals gave a sense of direction to the masses. Masses were disciplined through infinite variety of rituals, prayers, practices, customs and meditation envisaged/prescribed by the learned sages.

Wrong practices developed deformities – Most of rituals, customs and traditions have lost their sanctity and developed many distortions because people started following them blindly and in a wrong way. People are losing the spirit of these rituals and festivals. It is necessary to understand correctly what for they actually meant, or what the messages behind it are. For example –

  • Festival of Holi in India was traditionally played by making colors from the flowers and herbs. Gulal was popular for its soothing qualities. But over the years, natural colors have been replaced by synthetic colors. Synthetic colors spoil the fun. They can cause serious skin problems, eye irritation and from skin allergies can lead to cancer.
  • The purpose of Holi festival is to inspire people to meet and greet each other with love and affection, forgetting old rivalries and enmity. Now many a times, people get beserk. They think holi is meant for fun. In the name of fun (mauj and masti), they play Holi in rowdy manner, misbehave and take advantage thinking it a good time to settle old scores. They use everything available to give others a really tough time, – pucca paints, dyes, grease, mud, throw each other in a pit of mud, throw balloons filled with water/coloured water and drink bhaang and get intoxicated and sometimes violent.
  • The ill-effect of this change is that people dread to move out their houses almost a week before Holi. There are many fatal/serious accidents due to drunken driving, dangerous driving, over-speeding, triple riding, driving without helmets or seat-belts is common sight during Holi

Wrong practices, quite often develops a widespread misunderstanding and give birth to social evils, caste-conflicts, feudal oppressions and mass poverty.

Impact of Vedic philosophy and literature on Indian society

The impact of Vedic philosophy and literature on Indian society was as following –

  • No confusion in matter of work – All the functions needed for the maintenance and growth of the society were divided amongst different groups. Each group was assigned a distinct function to perform. There was no confusion or frustration on matter of work, because every body had his traditional occupation.
  • Dignity and honor for everyone –One of the unique features was that it provided work and employment to all. It avoided rivalry or bitterness for pelf, power or position amongst different sections of society. Each and every group served the community. All the groups lived with dignity and honor with the feeling that they, too, were contributing something to the society.
  • Clear vision of responsibilities – Clear-cut definition of rights and duties for each group, based on its traditional occupation, developed clear vision of its responsibilities.
  • Checks and balances – Orderly division of labor based on certain principles and its combination with the principle of inter dependence developed its own systems of checks and balances over arbitrary use of its authority.
  • Decentralization of authority – There was an automatic decentralization of authority.
  • Inculcated discipline in masses – Discipline was inculcated amongst ignorant masses through infinite variety of rituals, prayers, practices, customs and meditation envisaged/prescribed by the learned sages.

Contribution of some saints

Tulsi, a Follower of Bhakti (Devotion) MargTulsidas took Rama out of Temples (Mandirs) or massive structures, freed Him from the clutches of Brahmins and placed Him in the hearts of common man. Importance of Ramayana, according to Sri Satya Sai Baba, is that principles of Ramayana teach peace, love humanity and unity. It teaches value of detachment from objective pursuits and realization the presence of Divine in every being. Renunciation leads to joy and attainment brings worries. The characters of Ramayana represents – Dasaratha is the representative of physical senses, three queens queens of three qualities (gunas) – serenity (satwa), passion (Rajas), sloth (tamas). The four goals of life are to get over ‘Kaam, Kroth, Lobh, Moh’. Rama represents righteousness in deed, word and thought, ever pure and totally free from blemish. Lakshmana symbolizes intellect, sugriva wisdom (viveka), Baali despair, Hanuman embodiment of courage. The three demon chiefs are personification of Passion (Rajasic), slothness (taamasic) and serenity (satwic). Sita is awareness of Universal Absolute (Brahma-jnana)

Kabir (15th century Sufi ‘Nirgun’ Sant) and other Sufi Sants – They did not believe in idol worship and criticized communalists and fanatics. Their followers interpreted the life and message of the saint poets. All their life they fought against orthodoxy, the ritualistic interpretation of religion and advocated spiritual uplift of a person. But after their death, most of them were caged in the same circle of rituals.

Vivekanand (a 19th century scholar saint) – To Vivekanand, Dharma meant fulfilling duties, not performing mere rituals. Religions are the ways to reach the divine and not to confront any other faith. He did not believe in conversion and advised people to stick to their own religion. In his famous 1893 Chicago speech at World Parliament of Religions said, “I am proud of my Hinduism, which is tolerant and inclusive.” However, some fanatics did great disservice when they use this message not to spread Hinduism’s message of tolerance, but to express a supremacist mentality.

                                           II

                         Modern education

Modern education in India (Before Independence)

In 1835, Lord Macauley successfully laid the foundation of modern education in India. In 1844 through a Declaration knowledge of English was made compulsory for Government employment. It made English medium schools very popular. The traditional Indian system of education gradually withered away for the lack of official support.

The universities at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were started in 1837 and higher education spread rapidly thereafter. Since the British were not much interested in scientific and technical education, only three Medical Colleges one each at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras was established by 1857. There was only one good engineering college at Roorkee.

Purpose of introducing Modern Education system

Finding it too costly and perhaps practically impossible to import enough Englishmen to man the large and increasing number of subordinate or lower posts in administration, British rulers planned of educating Indians in such a way that they “should through western education get Anglicized in terms of both cultural and intellectual attainments”. Lord Macauley clearly said that, “we must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.”

Served Double purpose

 Introduction of modern education had served a double purpose for the British rulers- they got the credit for the amelioration of the Indian society. But at the same time, through it, they devised a unique method of distribution of power, kept balance of power and prolonged their rule in India by keeping the natives busy in their in-fights.

Welcomed by all

The atmosphere was completely ready, when Lord Macauley to lay the foundation of modern education in India by 1835. Missionaries as well as National leaders, intellectuals and Reformers not only welcomed but exerted pressure on the company to encourage and promote western education in India.

For Missionaries

For Missionaries, modern education was a good recipe to brainwash Indians and to attract many Indians especially belonging to lower strata towards Christianity. Modern education and preaching of religious minded Westerners like William Webberforce or Charles Grant etc. had made their job easy. Formal education in educational institutions under British government led to mass conversion into Christianity. It had succeeded in leaving a deep influence in the minds of both educated and uneducated.

  • Brainwashing educated Indians – In educational institutions under British government or in Missionary schools, an ideological attack was launched purposely on Indian value systems. Indian social structure and its values and systems were described as “discriminatory,” “iniquitous,” “exploitative,” “oppressive” “barbarous,” “uncivilized” and “highly stratified”. Indian social-structure, based on caste system, was held responsible for all evil social practices, feudalistic attitude, backward thinking, belief in dogmas and superstitions sustained by a unique set of rituals, and whimsical concept of purity and pollution.

Formal education in missionary or government aided schools and colleges developed a complex in the minds of educated Indians about primitiveness of Indian society and its value system. Many educated Indians were influenced greatly by the alien culture. Some of them got converted into Christianity.

  • Education and employment an attraction for poor – Missionaries had attracted the attention of poor ignorant masses by preaching and by providing for submerged sections of Indian society opportunities to get free modern education in missionary schools and permanent jobs.  Liberal grants were given by the British government to missionaries and their schools for this purpose. It helped missionaries to lure the downtrodden/people, belonging to lower strata, towards Christianity.

Hopes, national leaders and Reformists had from ‘Modern Education’

Humanitarians, intellectuals, leaders and leaders and social reformers welcomed rationality and other good features of Modern English education. They hoped that modern education would –

  • Enlighten Indians by giving them the key to open the treasures of scientific discoveries and democratic, liberal and humanitarian thoughts of the modern ‘West’through Western literature and philosophy.
  • Make people aware of the real issues hampering the progress of Indian society, remery the social, political and economic ills of the country and improve the life of common men by enabling them to conquer ignorance, hunger, poverty and disease.
  • Spread of the Principles of Democracy across the nation to bring to an end imperialism and tyranny of British rule.

Impact of the efforts of National leaders

Modern education did produce much-needed manpower for lower levels of administration, as desired by the rulers. But it also generated groups of visionary national leaders, intellectuals and reformers during second half of the nineteenth century and beginning of twentieth century like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dadabhai Naoroji, Ferozeshah Mehta, Gokhale, Gandhi, Jinnah, Ambedkar, Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Moti Lal Nehru, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Neta Subhash Chandra Bose, Patel etc.

Aim, Economic and social uplift – The thrust of Indian leaders and intelligentsia was purely an economic and social. They put emphasis on education and science. They took upon themselves the responsibility to build a modern, open, plural, culturally rich, prosperous and powerful India out of a fragmented, poverty stricken, superstitious, weak, indifferent, backward and inward looking society.

Constructive Influence of modern education on Indian society

Eighteenth century onwards, modern education led to social awakening, gave impetus to social progress and brought many reforms. It had influenced substantially the working style and thinking of missionaries, reformers, educationists and many Indians, especially those belonging to elite and intellectual sections of society. Some of the positive effects of modern education on Indian society were as follows –

  • Opened up the doors of the knowledge – Modern education opened up the doors of the knowledge flourished in Europe after Renaissance movement of Middle Ages. It had widened the mental horizons of Indian intelligentsia.
  • Highlighted evil practices – Modern education had highlighted the weaknesses and real issues, which had developed in the system like rigidity and harshness of social customs and practices prevalent at that time for the weaker sections of the society i.e. women and lower strata of society.
  • Attracted attention of social reformers – Modern education had attracted the attention of social reformers towards social evils caused by ignorance, superstitions or irrationality like mumbo-jumbo of rituals and superstitions created by some selfish people to entangle the ignorant and poor masses, un-touch-ability and inhuman treatment to women, Sati, Polygamy, child marriage etc. etc. prevalent at that time.
  • Realization of the worth of liberty and freedom – Indians realised the worth of liberty and freedom. They got exposure to the philosophies of thinkers like Locke, Mill, Roussseau, Voltaire, Spencer and Burke etc. They came to know about the reasons and impact of English, French, American revolutions. It equipped national leaders with the intellectual tools, with which they fought the oppressive British Raj.

The destructive effects of modern education on Indian society

Some of the adverse effects of modern education system on Indian society were –

  • Disintegration of Indian society – Divisive policies of British rulers divided the whole of Indian society into many uncompromising groups. The primary aim of British rulers was to ‘divide and rule’ and keep the natives busy in their in-fights.  They adopted racial discrimination and many repressive policies in order to disintegrate Indian society. On surface, everything appeared fine, but in reality it compartmentalized the Indian society into uncompromising groups by taking the path of discrimination. National leaders, Reformers and a section of intelligentsia could feel the damage, British racial discrimination and their repressive policies were doing.
  • Rise to unhealthy competition – Modernization of the pattern of education and occupations (making knowledge of English as basic qualification for white collared jobs especially in government) along with industrialization increased role of formal education and training for furthering future prospects of people.

In near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, people had to depend entirely on modern education and Government jobs for earning respectfully. Stiff competition for getting enough space in modern callings divided the Indian society. Opportunities in modern education and government jobs became the bone of contention between different sections of the society. The monopoly of Brahmins in these areas cautioned the British and generated anger amongst the non-Brahmin communities and Muslims. In the Southern states, there emerged two rival groups – Brahmins and Non-Brahmins and in the North – Hindu and Muslims.

  • Biased census operation – British rulers redefined the structure of Indian society through Census operations according to their administrative convenience. Census operations divided Indian society into different political groups – Upper castes, Lower castes, Backward castes, minorities Tribals and untouchables – on basis of race, religion, caste, creed, or place. The government recognized all these groups officially. It divided Indian population into different un-bridgeable groups. It politicized caste and community, which were made tools for Indians to fight amongst them from now onwards.

The government allowed forming their own pressure groups. It gave encouragement to all of them to pursue their sectional interests or to insist for their claims in the areas of education, white collared jobs and power- structure of the country.

  • Racial discrimination giving birth to National movement – During 1858 to 1905, the British Government adopted a racist attitude under the garb of the policy of apparent association. British, philosophers and writers started propagating theories of racial superiority and thereby, justified the domination of white races over dark races of the globe. Historians like Mill, Wilson, Ward vehemently denounced the culture, character and social structure of the native people.

The discriminatory and repressive policies and practices of British rulers alarmed the national leaders. Racial discrimination in the areas of education and jobs and their repressive policies elsewhere; Economic loot; political subjugation; assertion of lordly superiority over the subject on the ground of race; assumption of a haughty exclusiveness; persistent insulting and supercilious behavior towards all Indians; exclusion of Indians from all places of honor, authority and responsibility; and denial of their capacity for self-governance united Indians against British rule. The destructive character of repressive policies of British rulers lit the fire and gave birth to national movement.

  • Masses remained illiterate – Though during second half of the nineteenth century, British government in India opened the doors of education to all sections of Indian society, irrespective of caste or creed, very few amongst the general public could avail the advantages of formal modern education. Education remained confined within a small section of societyIt was only impoverished group of Brahmin and caste Hindus in search of respectful livelihood, who opted for modern education. Educating general public was not the aim of British rulers. Relentless efforts of missionaries, with an aim to convert poor people into Christianity, could educate a very small number of people from amongst them. Reasons being:
    • Modern education was very costly and, therefore, unaffordable by the masses.
    • Masses did not see any immediate use of education. It was more important for them to work and arrange two square meals day.
    • English as a medium of instructions in education and as Official language. It alienated the masses from the educated Indians. English gradually became the language of elite section of Indian society.
  • White collared jobs- Introduction of modern education in 1835 and introduction of Wood’s dispatch of 1854, known as Magna Carta, which declared English as an official language, changed the scenario. It gave importance and popularity to ‘White collared jobs’ in organized sector. Declaration of English as Official language pushed the masses away from new employment opportunities. More a person withdraws from physical labor, more honored; civilized and qualified he/she is considered by modern society. The trend of easy and quick money started.
  • Discredited traditional occupations – Emergence of white-collared jobs based on formal education tended to make many traditional occupations obsolete, as they were considered less paying, more hazardous or time consuming. It scattered the efforts, sense of direction and manufacturing skills of millions of artisans, craftsman, weavers etc. There had been casualty of workers first, afterwards their work style, commitment, motivation and culture. They lost their creativity, sense of achievement and pride. Work culture has changed tremendously since then.
  • Unemployment increased – Very few of them could join modern occupations. Majority of people could neither enter into modern sector, nor could stick to their traditional occupations considering the menial work derogatory. In the near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, most of them had no option, but either to join band of agricultural labors, industrial workers and marginal labor for their survival or increase number of unemployed or under employed.
  • Traditional jobs hijacked by educated entrepreneurs – Some young entrepreneurs, having education, money and awareness, did market survey and hijacked many discarded traditional occupations. They modernized such disdained and contemptuous jobs like mechanization of fishing or leather industry and made them profit oriented. Even less capital-intensive occupations like that of barber or washer-men have been hijacked by educated middle class. They re-christened them as saloon, laundry etc and employed those poor traditional workers, who were earlier practicing such occupations independently.

Modern education and Reform movements                 

Social reforms of 19th and early 20th century – The thrust of reformers was purely social. They got alarmed at the erosion of rich ancient Culture of India. Modern education was steadily disassociating Indians from their traditional way of learning, classical roots and knowledge. They undertook the path of internal reforms. They tried to revive it through Sanskritization.

  • Formation of Social reform organizations in 19th and early 20th century – The thrust of reformers was purely social. Many organizations were formed allover India, like Brahma Samaj founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1828) in Bengal or Prarthana Samaj in Maharashtra (1867). Arya Samaj (1875) was founded by Swami Dayanand in Northern India, and Rama Krishna Mission, Theosophical Society of India (1879), Dev Samaj in Lahore and Servants of India society. They suggested people to form similar organizations allover India spread awareness amongst common man.
  • Efforts to awaken the masses and interpret religion rationally – Social reformers took upon themselves the job to revive their own rich ancient culture and prevent the masses from being swayed away by the glamour and materialism of alien culture.

They organized people, held conferences and published articles to inspire and spread awareness amongst the people allover India. They interpreted religion rationally. They familiarized the masses with the greatness of Hindu Vedic culture and about Vedas as the source of all knowledge and truth. The intellectual ferment was strongest in West Bengal, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu as there was more rigidity than other parts of India in observances of various rituals and rules. Illiterate and ignorant masses followed them blindly.

Advice of social reformers to Indians

Social reformers drew attention of the public towards the real issues hampering the progress of Indian society and guided people to remain firmly rooted to Indian Culture.  

  • Advice to eradicate social evils – Social reformers told people to stop all forms of exploitation, inequality and injustice and then move forward. Emphasis was laid on education and science. They asked people to fight against all inhuman practices or treatment given to women and lower strata of society at that time. Women were victimized because of evil practices like Sati, Polygamy, child marriage etc. And practice of untouchablity, which developed into the system made millions of people from lowest strata of society to suffer because of arrogance, ego and irresponsible behavior of some persons. Such persons were responsible for creating the mumbo-jumbo of rituals and superstitions to serve their own vested interests and entangle/exploit the ignorant and poor masses.
  • Free Hinduism from all degenerate featuresSocial reformers advised people to set free Hinduism from all degenerate features without foreign intervention. They asked the submerged sections of society to fight with “Abhava” (Scarcity), “Agyan” (Ignorance), “Annyaya” (Injustice), and “Alasya” (Laziness), as these were the causes of all evils. 
  • Not the principles, but practices went wrong – Reformers believed that it was not the Hindu principles, but the practices, which went wrong. Vivekanand who founded the Rama Krishna Mission said, It is we, who are responsible for our degradation. … He said, “Each nation like each individual has a theme in this life, which is its center, the principle note, around which every other note comes to form the harmony. If any nation attempts to throw off its national vitality, the direction, which has become its own through the transmission of centuries, that nation dies.” i
  • Call to ’Return to Vedas’ – Swami Vivekanand and many other reformers asserted the superiority of Hindu Vedic culture.  They gave a call to “Return to Vedas”, as Vedas were to them source of all knowledge and truth. They advised Indians to interpret religion rationally and remain firmly rooted to their own Culture.

Familiarizing the masses of India and the Western World

Awareness about its greatness confined within a small group – For a long time, the greatness of Indian culture and its philosophy was known only in India, that too, not to the whole of India, but only to a few Sanskrit scholars. For the first time in the 8th century Sankaracharya placed it before the people. Even then, its worth was realized within the world of few scholars and saints.

Later on, during 19th and 20 centuries, Saint Jnanesvar, Vivekanand, Rama Krishna Mission), Lokmanya Tilak, Theosophical Society of India and others tried to reveal to the common man and Western world the greatness of Indian Philosophy and culture as well as the charm and graciousness of Vedic literature. They contributed in making Vedic culture popular all over India.

Inspiration not only Indians, but foreigners as well – From now onwards, this gold mine of knowledge and vast treasures of Hindu philosophy with all its rational thinking, social and religious experiences contained in Indian Scriptures and Epics have inspired not only Indians, but foreigners also, not only in the past, but at present as well. Indian philosophy and its value system gave to people, a purpose to live for and ideals to be achieved. It commanded the respect and attention of an average Indian once more. German scholars, in the early Nineteenth Century and English scholars in the late Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century were deeply fascinated by Hindu philosophy and its rich spiritual and traditional treasures, accumulated through centuries.

Scholars reinterpreted it for a rational mind – Intellectuals from India as well as various countries have translated it in their own languages and reinterpreted it for a rational mind with an aim to spread it throughout the world.

.                                                  After Independence

With minor changes here and there, the education system basically remained the same. Karl Marx remarked that British, had a double mission in India, one destructive, the other regenerating; the annihilation of the old Asiatic Society and laying the material foundation of Western Society in Asia.I (Dutt RP, India Today, p476) The regenerating character can be seen in the social transformation in India through modern education. British rulers made English language as a medium of learning and official language. There was modernization in economic sphere. It led to political unification of the country and laid foundations for many democratic institutions.

The reactionary and destructive character was seen in the economic and social sphere. The growth of casteism had a close connection with these developments. Its result on Indian society was –

Complex in the minds of many educated Indians about their social values –Modern education has developed a complex in the minds of many educated Indians about the primitiveness of Indian society and about efficacy of its value systems. Many educated Indians have lost faith in social customs and practices altogether. Some Indians consider Hindu philosophies and its way of life impractical, or its social practices indefensible.

Apathy towards their values and systems – Apathy towards their value systems has made a large number of intelligentsia alien in their own country. It has disassociated them from their own way of living, classical roots and traditional knowledge. With it; are fading steadily Indian value-system, philosophies and traditions. Usually a person becomes miserable, when he is cut off from his source of life – his own roots. A large number of educated Indians have lost faith in the traditional values, principles and way of life. They have lost faith not only in their fellow-beings, but also in themselves.

Wide gulf between common man and educated – Quality of education, especially in government or government-aided educational institutions has also deteriorated to a great extent. The costly nature of quality education especially in private institutions has further alienated uneducated masses from educated ones. Quality education has become a monopoly of the richer classes and city dwellers. Their youth have become quite insensitive, arrogant and does not hesitate speaking their minds bluntly.

Culture of Neo-rich – A drastic change is visible in the values, behavior and etiquette of a new educated neo- rich youth of elitist class, which has emerged especially in urban areas and Metros. Their life style and value system have been gradually replaced by the Western ones. They want to enjoy pleasures of modern life at any cost. They are more conscious of their rights.

Undisciplined behavior – Present-day youth want to enjoy life fully in any possible way without any bondage/restriction/comment on their behavior or way of life. Loosening grip of social bondage and observances has made many of them selfish, self-willed and arrogant. Some of them have become so intolerant and aggressive, that they out-rightly discard all social norms and etiquette. Their thinking and value systems are quite different from the older ones.

Failure of Present Education System – Education is supposed to develop positive thinking in learners, so that they can channelize their efforts, make their thinking-base broader and flexible, increase openness to information and enhance spirit to work hard, sincerely in a responsible manner in order to attain desired goals. Present system of education has miserably failed to inculcate in youth these qualities. They do not have a clear vision about their aims and ambitions, courage to own responsibilities, face bravely the challenges in life and a balanced approach towards one’s rights and duties, which are the basic ingredients of any cultured/matured/civil society.

Large population of Illiterates and unskilled work-force – ‘Education for all’ and ‘employment for all’ is still a dream. Lack of proper education and training systems combined with illiteracy and lack of skills amongst a large number of people has turned the visions of national development into empty dreams. Only 64.84 people are literate according to 2001 census, (Males – 75.26% and Females – 53.67%). In absolute number, the figure is alarming.  No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled. Not only the number of illiterates and unskilled is a matter of concern, but also quality and insufficient resources of education and training are the matter of great concern.  Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on available infrastructure of education and training.

All powerful Government making common man a pigmy – Being a ‘socialist’ and ‘Welfare state’, government has assumed absolute power and taken over itself the responsibility of improving the quality of life of its people from `womb to tomb’. Instead of being a facilitator, it has become the provider. Instead of teaching people ‘how to fish’, it obliges different sections of society by ‘giving a fish’. It has led to centralization of all control systems and made common man a pigmy.

Populist policies to catch vote-banks – In order to create vote banks discriminatory populist policies are being pursued in the name of ‘equality’ or ‘social justice’. More emphasis is being given in pursuing abstract and emotional issues rather than solving the real problems of people. Attempts for social changes make a virtue of narrow loyalties of caste and religion, generating sub-cultures like favoritism, lure for easy money, nepotism and, in-discipline in the society. Caste and communal conflicts are increasing. There are sectarian and regional imbalances generating social and psychological tensions.

Unhealthy competition – There is neck to neck competition for a few places in educational institutions of repute or in employment, especially in organized sector. Rivalry and bitterness for pelf, power or position is continuously increasing. Total aversion of youth from their traditional occupations and stiff competition elsewhere for employment pushed millions to poverty. It has rendered millions of people unemployed or underemployed, who are now wasting all their efforts and most energetic and creative time of their lives, while hunting for a job.

Effect of Political turmoils on Indian society – Recent political turmoils have adversely affected the whole atmosphere. A few Individuals and groups, with political, money or muscle power control the destiny of millions and have say in almost every walk of national life. They are working day and night to deny justice to common men and upright citizens. Favouritism, in-discipline, violence, corruption, lure for easy money, nepotism and chase of materialism based on ruthless competition have weakened the social fabric beyond repair. The erosion of basic moral and human values has turned the life of men, “nasty, brutish and short”.

Standard of Administration – Standard of governance has declined. Work culture in government offices whether at Centre, state or local level, has been degenerated. Under-currents of caste politics have made the task of governance difficult, making the governance difficult and ineffective. It has given birth to sectarian and regional imbalances generating social and psychological tensions. People are disgusted with the non-performance of government. The administration has become incompetent to solve the burning national issues.

Technological advancement – Scientific and technological developments has endowed human with tremendous power both to preserve and destroy. At slightest provocation, people do not hesitate to unleash destructive powers accessible to them. That is one of the reasons for increase in the incidents of violence and crimes.

Conclusion

There is no denial to the fact that Modern education has brought social awakening and awareness amongst people all over India. Recent revolutionary developments in the areas Science and technology, information technology and mass media have brought tremendous changes in the life style and working of people. Thanks to it, now any kind of information in any area of human knowledge or about any aspects of life is easily accessible, that too at the door-step of each and every individual. It has made the present generation much more informed about the developments happening anywhere in the whole world and knowledgeable than previous generations. But only gaining knowledge is not enough.

Khalil Gibran has pointed out that a little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that remains inactive. A person, whose knowledge is confined to books, is unable to use his wealth of knowledge, when the need arises. Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.

According to Hindu philosophy, human beings possess three shakties (Powers) – knowledge, will and action. A human mind consists of right knowledge, wrong knowledge, fancy imagination (illusion), sleep, memory. It is only the right kind of knowledge, which gives essence and which is the source of spiritual light and remover of all ignorance. Knowledge brings in understanding and consciousness that vibrates with different types of learning. Right kind of knowledge, like a rock, is a solid support to human beings, which stays with them all the time. Spiritually it brings harmony and peace of mind and materially happiness, relaxation and celebration in life.

There is a difference between knowledge gained through information (intelligence) and its application to real day today life (intellect or wisdom). Intelligence leads to the world of information and knowledge. And intellect enables one to analyze, reason, judge the thinking process and distinguish between facts/realities and opinion. Intellect guides how to apply knowledge. It is lack of intellect that leads a person to vices like egoism, superiority complex etc and creates problems in people’s life and in the world. Only intellect can control human mind and lead it mind to right direction. When intellect becomes weak, negative reasoning takes over mind.

Intellect shows the path to come in touch with ones own inner truth, becoming truly aware of oneself. Self realization/self introspection changes the attitude of a person. After knowing ones strengths and weaknesses, rise above ‘I, me and myself’. It makes a person to put stress on life principles, understand better oneself and other people around without bias, make more intelligent choices and stay calm in the face of crisis and chaos.

Modern education led to ‘Intelligence’, but not to ‘intellect’ – Modern education has made people intelligent and knowledgeable, but could not develop the ‘intellect’ of people properly. Revolutionary developments in the areas Science and technology, information technology and mass media made all kind of knowledge accessible and organized knowledge, but could not guide people to organized life.

Deficiencies of modern education system – Modern education, which has been inherited from the British, has brought social awakening and awareness all over India amongst Indian people. But there are also certain deficiencies in it.  Internally, as Mahatma Gandhi had pointed out long ago, modern education based on colonized British Grammar School type education has deprived masses. English medium has put undue strain upon the nerves of the Indian students, made them crammers, imitators and unfit them for original work and thought. India’s massive human resource needs to be cultivated through sound system of education and training to get out of the rut of mediocrity.

Ignored the culture of heart – Modern education has ignored the culture of heart and hand and confined itself simply to head. It has made people aware of their rights, but unfortunately not about their duties. It has pushed modern youth away from their roots and their own culture, which advised them to adopt a self-restrained and self- disciplined life style, to learn to be contented, honest and willing to help others; to observe austerity, simplicity; to maintain cleanliness of diet, body and mind and; not to waste energy or over-indulge oneself in wasteful and destructive activity. In short, it advised people to rise above the animal instincts hidden inside human-beings.

Pushed people away from their indigenous culture – It has not taught youth of the day to have pride in their surroundings. More modern and advanced they become, the farther they are removed from their surroundings and at the end, becoming estranged from their surroundings. People basically become miserable when they are cut off from his source of life- one’s roots.

Today, people are loosing their natural character, because they are getting away from roots, from their traditional aspirations and values in preference to the western materialism. The traditional culture in its true form can still give to the people, a purpose to live for and ideals to be achieved. Modern educated intelligentsia needs to stop imitating the ‘West’ blindly.

Suggestions

Common men in India still have faith in good intentions and wisdom of their ancestors, who have contributed in developing the culture of India. Rajgopalachari has said, “If there is honesty in India today, any hospitality, any charity— any aversion to evil, any love to be good, it is due to whatever remains of the old faith and the old culture”.

Today, when Indians are getting away from their roots, it is important to keep their feet firmly on the ground and to instill right values in them. In recent past, traditional values have lost their sanctity and developed many distortions because people started following them blindly and in a wrong way. It developed a widespread misunderstanding. Apathy of people towards the value system of Indian society has generated caste-conflicts, feudal oppressions, exploitation of vulnerable sections of society and mass poverty. Only after understanding the rationale behind them, people should follow them systematically.

Traditional value system still gives to the people, a purpose to live for and ideals to be achieved. Blind following quite often leads to practice social customs and practices incorrectly or in a wrong way. Later on, with the passage of time, there develops many deformities into the system and harms the whole of the society. All the principles, rituals or customs of ancient India should not be followed blindly without understanding the logic behind it.

But there are some values and systems, which are still relevant and inspire common men to lead a disciplined life style. After evaluating its worth in the light of present circumstances, people should follow them systematically. Modern times and circumstances have changed completely especially after 1970 with information technology revolution. There were many things which the ancestors did not know like World Wars, nuclear weapons, technological advancements in the areas of media, transport, and communications or in the world of computers.

Education should guide youth to have a clear-cut vision of one’s responsibilities and a balanced approach towards one rights and duties, which is a must for any matured/civilized society. It should lead to positive thinking, which could channelize human efforts in proper direction, make vision broader, thinking flexible, increase openness to information and enhance spirit to work hard. Discipline and productivity are also necessary for a sound system of education.

Modern intelligentsia, who have some faith in traditional values and system welcome the rationality and other good features of Modern education, but wish to remain firmly rooted to Indian Culture.

Reformers and intellectuals have shown their anguish at the declining moral and ethical standards and discipline of the modern society. They try to combat negative forces like deceit, treachery, violence, crimes and degradation of values and make the society a better place to live in. There is enough goodness inside and around every human being. Only people need to channelize their ambitions, desires and energies towards right direction through sound education system.

In the recant past, it is not the principles, but the practices, which went wrong. Today, when Indians are getting away from their roots,  nothing is more needed than the constant interpretation of past experiences and present circumstances. Present should be a constant challenge to the opinions of past. A value or a system, which in the light of modern times appears more effective and beneficial, should be replaced by a better one. At the same time, it would be suicidal to sacrifice ancient value systems to an increasing passion for change.

After raising oneself from ignorance, and with a rational and open mind, a person can understand the greatness of the Indian culture and its value system. A knowledgeable and civilized person like a jeweller should spot out gems from amongst worthless pebbles from this ocean of knowledge; pick them up and leave the undesired obsolete elements developed into it with passage of time. In a changing world, nothing can be more disabling than its idolization of past.

June 20, 2011 Posted by | Education and training of civil services | | 16 Comments

Education and training of bureaucrats in India

 

Introduction

Bureaucracy/Civil Services may be considered to be all the Government services – Financial, Technical and specialists as well as managerial and generalist – engaged in the governance of a nation, professionally recruited, permanent, paid and properly trained in various disciplines of administration. It assists the elected representatives of the people in matters of governance. Since bureaucrcy/Civil Services are the only permanent link between successive elected governments, they play a vital role in governance of the country and guiding the social changes and economic developments in desired direction, specially in the case of less developed or developing countries, where society is in a state of transition.

Task of governance

Of all acts of civilized society of modern times, governance is one of the most difficult tasks despite there being many changes in the strategy, structure and management techniques. It has become so difficult and complex, because it has to deal with issues – political, economic or social, that directly affect public life of living human beings, which are full of psychological and sociological complexes and prone to unpredictable behavior.

In governance of a country, there are two players – governing-body/government and people. Quality of governance depend on variables like characteristic of the nation, form of government, social structure, nature, behavior and value system of people. Governance, usually done by the civil services of a nation, relates to process of implementing decisions and organizing activities of government according to a set of rules and precedents, which govern relations between individual citizens and state.

Expectations of masses

After French and Industrial Revolutions, the values of mankind changed considerably. Misery and poverty, once regarded inevitable, were no longer acceptable and thus came into being the concepts like `Welfare State’ and `Developmental Administration’ – the former being the objective and the later the machinery to achieve these objectives.

Concepts of ‘Welfare state’ and ‘development Administration’

While a welfare state takes care of its people from `womb to tomb’ and aims at improving the quality of life of its masses, the instruments deployed for achieving welfare goals – national reconstruction and development – is that of the Developmental Administration through the institution of Civil Service. Continuous modernization, higher productivity, rapid advance in social justice, demand to improve the quality of service and rising aspirations of the people with spread of education and awareness have been continuously posing new problems for governance.

Role of pre-entry education

Learning/education before entering into various jobs is to develop mental and moral faculties, which have a material bearing on the formation of character. It embraces within itself reading, observation and thought. Education is usually given for increasing knowledge and understanding. It cultivates attitudes of the students, so that they are better adjusted to their working environment.

Formal education can be provided at three levels – School, University and Job. Education is meant not only for a fixed period or for theoretical or academic pursuit of knowledge leading towards award of degrees. In its wider sense, it is a continuous process for complete upbringing of the individual right from his birth to death.

Role of training

As against this the training is primarily concerned with preparing the trainees for certain lines of action, which are delineated by technology and by the organization, in which he works. `Training’ improves the administrative output – quantitatively and qualitatively. It is a function of helping trainees to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, which they do not possess, but are needed by the organizations, of which they are a part.

Importance of training to meet the challenges

There has been a growing realization, in the recent years, all over the world that after recruitment into civil services, training is necessary for gearing the bureaucracy to meet the challenges of modern times and make the services more effective, efficient and goal-oriented.

It is training that imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work-habits. Training becomes more important because education of the recruits before entering into different branches of civil services is mostly degree-oriented instead its being job-oriented. Training fills up the gaps between learning and practical requirements.

Types of training

Training could be both, formal and informal. Formal training may further be divided into four categories –

  • pre-entry training,
  • foundation training,
  • in-service training, and
  • Post-entry training.

Purpose

Each one serves a different purpose. The pre-entry training prepares candidates for all sorts of jobs including civil service. Foundation training equips new recruits to Civil Services with understanding of political, social and economic infrastructure of the country as well as familiarizes them with the atmosphere, in which they have to work. In-service training takes over the training tasks initiated by foundation training and fills in the gaps inherent in informal training. Post-entry training is not directly related to the work of a trainee, but helps him in a long run. Informal training is to train the officials on job, so that they could acquire administrative skills through practice.

Training strategies

Training strategies developed, so far, are that of academic strategy, laboratory strategy, activity, action program strategy, person-development strategy and organization development strategy. The selection of appropriate strategy depends on factors such as training goals, resources available for training.

Methods or techniques

Various methods or techniques deployed for giving training are field training, lectures and talks, study-tours, delegations, syndicate method, conferences, seminars and group discussions, case-study, role play exercise, management games, simulations, sensitivity training etc.

How to choose a training method?

Choosing a training method for a program depends on the training objectives, training needs, available time, skills and facilities. Right diagnosis of training needs thorough job-evaluation and research, clear objectives, right selection of training method, top level support, selection of right type of personnel for right type of program and proper evaluation help in making a training program successful. Training of civil services in Modern India

Civil Services in India

The Indian Civil Service has a long historical background and is a product of centuries, and so is the case of its Education and Training. The system of Indian Civil Services has progressed slowly but steadily under three regimes – the East India Company, the Crown and the Indian Republic. In matter of Training, it has passed through the system of Education and Training in pre-independent India, mixture of the legacy of the colonial past and the requirements of Independent India and then the existing system.

Training system during East India rule

Lord Cornballs (1786-1793) was the first to realize the importance of training the higher civil servants, and drew the attention of the Directors of the Company towards this issue. As a result, thereof, an East India College was established on May 12, 1805, at Halleybury, England. It had closed it in June 1855, due to opposition and criticism in responsible quarters. With the closure of Haileybury College, a system of competitive examination was introduced, in 1855, for recruitment to various Higher Civil Services, under the Crown.

Training system under the Crown

Amongst all the civil services under government of India, emphasis was given only to the Initial/foundation training of ICS & IP Officials, which were responsible for maintaining law and order throughout the country. Recruits to central services were trained on the job under the supervision of senior officers during their probationary period.

ICS recruits were given formal education and training for one year in one of the four universities – Oxford, Cambridge, London or Dublin. They were, then, sent to India to have field training for a year or so. IP recruits were sent to provincial training institutes for their formal education, after which they were also given field training. The probation period for all the services was two years. These services during British-India were exclusively trained to retain the Imperial Power and were manned mainly by British people. These two services were the `Steel-frame of the whole structure’ of British Empire.

Scene after Independence

The post-Independence era brought about fundamental changes. The Indian Government now became the Government of a Welfare State bent upon socio-economic development of the masses rather than attending routine regulatory functions. The leaders of free India were suspicious of the capacity of the civil services of British India to carry out the welfare plans. They wanted to re-organize the administrative structure.

But the events immediately after the independence, such as partition of the country into India and Pakistan, migration of civil servants to Britain and Pakistan, unification of states etc., made it imperative not to disturb the then existing administrative structure. Consequently, save minor changes here and there, the administrative machinery set up during the Raj moved into the post-Independent era with many traditions of Imperial past.

General framework of the Civil services, recruitment system, training system, generalist supremacy, anonymous character procedure oriented system, salary-structure, centralization of power, caste considerations in recruitment to higher services and apathy towards masses were some of the legacies of the British India.

Training System after Independence

Independent India recognized the role and importance of Education and Training for inculcating the qualities of leadership, supervision, efficiency in communication, decision making etc. in its higher officials and also for changing their attitudes. Such a recognition is evident from the successive Five Year plan documents, reports of Administrative Reforms Commission and other Committees – all stressing the need for planned and systematic programs of training for officials at various levels.

As a result, there has been a quantitative expansion of training institutes and courses, as well as qualitative improvements in the schemes of Education and Training. A bold step, in this direction, was taken by creating a cell, in 1968, known as ‘Training Division’ in the Ministry of Home Affairs for general coordination and stimulation of the training system.

Grouping of training Institutes

Various Training Institutions created for stimulating foundation/in-service and refresher training courses can be grouped in three categories –

  1. Institutes run by the Government of India,
  2. Institutes run by the State Governments, and
  3. Autonomous/Private Institutes.

These institutions impart foundation as well as in-service through plan and non-plan programs to senior officers of different departments at various stages and in various disciplines. Training in those areas, where adequate facilities are not available within the country, is given abroad under bilateral agreements and aid-programs.

Training system for IAS

Government of India pays maximum attention to the training of IAS personnel even today as they occupy practically all the strategic and top-level posts at the center and states. Immediately after selection, the successful candidates of IAS are sent to the National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, for induction training. The probationary period for them to get professional training is divided into Phase I, field, and phase II training.

The Academy portion of the phase I training

The Academy portion of the phase I training gives them theoretical understanding of their job. The focus of this course is on the organization and functioning of the district administration, both, in its developmental and regulatory aspects. Special emphasis is given to the role of administrator in rural development. Winter study tour of two months is a part of the seven months phase I training, during which they are attached to Public Sector Undertakings, Agricultural Universities, Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and National Development Board. They also spend a week amongst tribals to understand their problems.

Field training

Then comes the field training for a year or so, which is the most important part of their training. The components of field training are – Institutional training in provincial staff colleges, training at district headquarters (treasury training and collectorate training), village attachment, block attachment, revenue attachment, sub-divisional attachment, independent development charge, survey and settlement training, agriculture training and secretariat training etc. The Academy as well as state governments are supposed to watch the performance of the trainees during various facets of field training.

Professional training phase II

After the field training, the professional training phase II starts. It is designed to bring together their theoretical understanding and practical field observation. It also prepares them to hold posts in real life. After it they are sent for army attachment also. The performance and involvement of the trainees in different training programs, their participation in co-curricular activities and their general bearing, behavior and attitudes is taken into account for the purpose of assessment.

In-service Training

The Government pays equal amount of attention to their in-service training, so that they could be exposed to latest theories, methodologies, concepts etc. developed either within the country or abroad. It is ensured that each and every IAS officer gets in-service training at appropriate time.

Training System in Indian Railways

Amongst other services under government of India, the system of education and training in Indian Railways is worth to be seen. Indian Railways is a training conscious ministry, which has made many efforts to improve the health and wealth – mental as well as material – of its employees. It comprises of almost fifty percent of the cadre strength of government employees. It is the only department in the government of India, where a large number of class I and II services under one umbrella are there, each serving to different functional areas like finance, operation, health engineering, security etc.

Specialized training institutions of its own

Indian Railways have set up their own specialized training institutions for higher supervisory cadres such as Indian Railway traffic Service, Indian Railway Accounts Service, Indian Railway Personnel Service, Indian Railway Protection Force and Railway Board Secretariat Service etc. These are Railway Staff College Baroda, Indian Railway Institute of Advanced Track Technology, Jamalpur, Indian Railway Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications Secunderabad and RPF training college at Lucknow.

There are some managerial services, where only a graduate degree is required. For Technical Service, graduation in that particular discipline is required such as Indian Railway Service of Engineers (Civil Engineers) Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers, Indian Railway of Service of Mechanical Engineers, Indian Railway Services of Signal and Tele-communication Engineers, Indian Railway Service of Stores, Indian Railway Medical Service.

Intensive formal training

After their selection into various services through competitive examinations, the recruits are given intensive training – initial as well as in-service – to equip them with necessary knowledge of their specialized discipline in particular and of others in general. The probation period for all the services is of two years except Indian Railway Traffic Service, where it is three years and Railway Medical Service, where it is three months.

Foundation training is given to the recruits of all the services at National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie. After that they are given professional training – theoretical as well as practical – for their respective disciplines in various institutions of Indian Railways. There are adequate arrangements for in-service training also.

Education and training system not up-to satisfaction

Although considerable attention has been paid so far by the government to the Education and Training of civil servants in government of India, yet it has been far from being satisfactory or not able to bring out the desired results.

Civil services still represent people’s collective hopes for a better and fairer future. Politicians usually remain ill-equipped to manage the nuances of everyday governance. A well-trained, disciplined dedicated, efficient civil service having sense of spirit- de- corps could rise to meet the challenges of twenty first century. It could still continue to provide a steel-frame to hold together an otherwise fissiparous idea of India. Article 311 of the constitution reflects the faith of constitution makers in human virtue over greed, faith in sense of public service over private gains and faith in moral and intellectual integrity over weak character. Somehow, that generation born and bred in an atmosphere of social sensibility has withered away.

Bureaucrats are already protected by the Constitution. The constitutional protections were provided to guarantee the moral and intellectual resilience of steel frame. The people of vision, hard work and meticulous scholarship are replaced mostly by scrupulous persons with low morals. The continuation of the privileges and powers led them to non-performance, incompetence, corruption and acts of outright criminality. It is the most profound betrayal of ideals of Indian Republic.

Most of the officials, at present, are high in intelligence but low in integrity. They treat powers granted to them with the base instincts of dishonesty and exercise their mind for private gains at public expense. They manage their authority to get high returns. Result is numerous scams and scandals. Many ambitious bureaucrats have collaborated with political bosses and business class. There are low demands on their accountability and efficiency. A few of them in order to play safe simply look the other way while some irregularity is being committed. There are a very very few courageous officers amongst bureaucrats, who dare to be different and do not succumb to temptations and listen the call of their soul and conscience. Such persons are the hopes of the nation.

In an era of globalization and liberalization, where the rationale of the services is being questioned by public -the voters and taxpayers, the faith of public in institutions of governance needs to be restored.

How to build a responsible and efficient civil service?

Building up of responsible and efficient civil servant does not start from the day, they join the civil services, but right from the day they start their education. The pre-entry education has a vital impact on the personality building, outlook and maturity of the prospective citizens, whether or not they join the civil services. The pre-entry education should be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature, so that it could provide firm foundation for the continuing education of higher civil servants.

Weaknesses of pre-entry education system

The general pre-entry education system, especially the higher education in India is increasingly becoming unrelated to national needs and aspirations, in-efficient, wasteful and non-functional. If the pre-education is not up-to the mark and training after their recruitment is correctional in nature, effectiveness and efficiency of work-force would receive a set-back. A much more massive effort for training would be called for.

Weakness of present day recruitment system

The present system of recruitment seems to be suffering from grave weaknesses, which is adversely affecting the efficiency of civil service itself. It is frustrating the effort of national reconstruction.

Present system of recruitment is degree-oriented instead of job-oriented. It is  academic in nature and favors the examination minded candidates. Assessment of different subjects offered for competitive examination poses difficulties in evaluation of comparative merits.

Post-entry Training System

Training system after recruitment into the civil services also suffers from grave weaknesses. The training system is too general in nature. Duration of initial training is insufficient. There is lack of time and interest among senior officers towards training of young officers. Government does not pay enough attention to the services of technical nature. Generalist supremacy in the services is hampering technological advancement. Selection of trainers is not always satisfactory. Usually unwanted/unsuccessful officers are posted to the training institutes. Contrary to it, usually armed forces send to its training institutes some of its best officers as trainers.

Suggestion

Question arises as to how to make the system effective. Seeing the inherent weaknesses in Indian education and training system + recruitment system, it is suggested that the recruitment to various Higher Civil Services should be made immediately after higher secondary education at a raw age, when the minds of candidates are in a formative stage.

Advantages

It could be done through an open competitive examination as is being done for Defense Services or some mechanical engineers of Indian Railways. It would facilitate the Government to arrange properly for their continuing education and intensive and comprehensive training at various administrative colleges and training institutions.

It would not only make it possible to have the intellectual knowledge and qualities required for performing their specific jobs, but would also inculcate in them emotional qualities and capacities required for doing their jobs such as social purposefulness, ability to understand the administrative and political implications of a problem and resourcefulness in solving them, capacity for team work and flair for leadership, which are basic requirements of any welfare administrators.

The idea of such an Education and Training is not new to India and has proved to be successful in Defense and Railways.

Other organizational changes

Some other organizational changes, through not directly related to training, could, to a great extent, help in increasing the effectiveness of the education and training of Higher Civil Servants.

  • Political masters should encourage civil servants to give frank advice.
  • The independent Indian needs smooth relationship between politicians and civil servants.
  • There should not be any undue political interference in the working of an administrator.
  • There should be working partnership between generalist and specialist.
  • The salary structure should be reasonable and just otherwise the situation would lead to inefficiency and corruption.
  • Therefore, there should be unified civil service with integrated pay structure, so that government could bring a sense of equity amongst various disciplines of civil service of their choice and would enable the candidates to go in for the service of their choice and aptitude and the government would be able to gain the full contribution of scientists, engineers, doctors, economists and officers of other disciplines.
  • There appears to be no scientific and sound rationale for keeping a substantial differential in the pay scales and career prospects of IAS and non-IAS, because in no way IAS personnel are superior to others either in intelligence, or in quality or recruitment, or in degree of responsibility or in nature of job or inequality of work-load.

Following steps could be taken to improve and to make the existing Education and Training System more meaningful and effective –

  • Foundation training should be made compulsory for all higher services – whether technical or non-technical;
  • The government and training institutions should be strict, so that trainees could take their training seriously;
  • Training should be service oriented;
  • Since 70% of the Indian population lives in villages, the officials should be familiarized soundly and intimately with the conditions, organisations, needs and aspirations of village people;
  • The higher civil servants should be trained to lead a simple life;
  • The super structure of skill, knowledge and efficiency should be raised on the foundation of discipline;
  • Senior officers should pay adequate attention and time to the training task;
  • The government should create a working atmosphere in the offices so that qualities like receptivity, originality, initiative, courage and sympathetic attitude towards masses, could be developed fully, while working;
  • The three partners in training – the organization, the training institute and the participant – should interact out of knowledge and understanding;
  • The training needs should be assessed properly by conducting job-evaluation and research and onward studies;
  • Instead of depending upon foreign material, adequate training material should be prepared and developed locally;
  • Right methods and techniques should be chosen for various training programs;
  • Selection of trainees for in-service training should be done with great care;
  • Enough motivation should be there for trainees, so that they can take their training seriously;
  • Top-level officers should give full cooperation to training activities;
  • Every training program should be evaluated properly;
  • There should be regular program review sessions;
  • The selection of the trainers should also be done with great care.

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Education and training of civil services | | 6 Comments